Stock Quotes in this Article: ATLS, HEES, MMLP

WINDERMERE, Fla. (Stockpickr) -- Professional traders running mutual funds and hedge funds don’t just look at a stock’s price moves; they also track big changes in volume activity. Often when above-average volume moves into an equity, it precedes a large spike in volatility.

Major moves in volume can signal unusual activity, such as insider buying or selling -- or buying or selling by “superinvestors.”

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Unusual volume can also be a major signal that hedge funds and momentum traders are piling into a stock ahead of a catalyst. These types of traders like to get in well before a large spike, so it’s always a smart move to monitor unusual volume. That said, remember to combine trend and price action with unusual volume. Put them all together to help you decipher the next big trend for any stock.

With that in mind, let's take a look at several stocks that were rising on unusual volume Wednesday.

Martin Midstream Partners LP

Martin Midstream Partners LP (MMLP) provides terminal ling and storage services for petroleum products and by-products, natural gas services, sulfur and sulfur-based products, and marine transportation services. The stock closed up 2.8% at $31.93 on Wednesday.

Wednesday's Volume: 282,000

Average Volume: 137,027

Volume % Change: 156%

From a technical perspective, MMLP gapped higher Wednesday right above some near-term support at $30.50 with above-average volume. This stock has been trending sideways for the last month, with shares moving between $30.03 on the downside and $31.50 on the upside.

The stock has now started to move above the upper-end of that recent range with solid volume, which is now quickly pushing MMLP within range of triggering a near-term breakout trade. That trade will hit if MMLP manages to take out its 50-day at $32.04 and its 200-day at $32.36 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in MMLP as long as it’s trending above $31, and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 137,027 shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then MMLP will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $33.27 to $34.50.

H&E Equipment Services

H&E Equipment Services (HEES) is an integrated equipment services company in the U.S., focused on heavy construction and industrial equipment. This stock closed up 4.4% at $15.74 on Wednesday.

Wednesday Volume: 662,000

Average Volume: 241,994

Volume % Change: 143%

From a technical perspective, HEES bounced higher Wednesday back above its 50-day moving average of $15.15 with above-average volume. This stock has been trending sideways for the last two months, with shares moving between $13.54 on the downside and $16.21 on the upside. This bounce Wednesday is quickly pushing HEES within range of triggering a major breakout trade. That trade will hit if HEES manages to take out some near-term overhead resistance levels at $15.65 to $16.21 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in HEES as long as it’s trending above some key near-term support at $14.76, and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 241,994 shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then HEES could possibly hit $18 to $20 in the near future.

Atlas Energy LP

Atlas Energy LP (ATLS) provides natural gas gathering services in the Anadarko, Arkoma and Permian Basins and the Golden Trend in the southwestern and mid-continent U.S. and the Appalachian Basin in the eastern U.S. This stock closed up 0.66% at $34.97 on Wednesday.

Wednesday Volume: 567,000

Average Volume: 212,542

Volume % Change: 182%

From a technical perspective, ATLS gapped higher Wednesday right above its 50-day moving average of $33.73 with above-average volume. This stock has been uptrending solidly for the last few weeks, with shares soaring from a low of $31.97 to its recent high of $35.76. During that move, shares of ATLS have been making mostly higher lows and higher highs, which is bullish technical price action. That move has now pushed ATLS within range of triggering a major breakout trade. That trade will hit if ATLS manages to take out some past overhead resistance levels at $36.28 to $36.46 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in ATLS as long as it’s trending above its 200-day at $33.47, and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 212,542 shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then ATLS will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance level at $38.48. Any move above $38.48 would then put its 52-week high of $39.35 into range for shares of ALTS.

To see more stocks rising on unusual volume, check out the Stocks Rising On Unusual Volume portfolio on Stockpickr.

-- Written by Roberto Pedone in Winderemere, Fla.

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At the time of publication, author had no positions in stocks mentioned.

Roberto Pedone, based out of Windermere, Fla., is an independent trader who focuses on technical analysis for small- and large-cap stocks, options, futures, commodities and currencies. Roberto studied international business at the Milwaukee School of Engineering, and he spent a year overseas studying business in Lubeck, Germany. His work has appeared on financial outlets including CNBC.com and Forbes.com. You can follow Pedone on Twitter at www.twitter.com/zerosum24 or @zerosum24.