Stock Quotes in this Article: HWAY, ITRI, LORL

DELAFIELD, Wis. (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.

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

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.

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

Healthways

Healthways (HWAY), through its subsidiaries, provides specialized solutions to help people to enhance their physical, emotional and social well-being. This stock closed up 12.9% at $18.16 in Friday's trading session.

Friday's Volume: 2.06 million

Three-Month Average Volume: 449,755

Volume % Change: 398%

From a technical perspective, HWAY skyrocketed higher here and broke out above some near-term overhead resistance levels at $17.43 to $17.74 with heavy upside volume. This breakout moved shares of HWAY above the upper-end of its recent sideways trading chart pattern. Market players should now look for a continuation move higher in the short-term if HWAY manages to take out Friday's intraday high of $18.73 to some more key overhead resistance at $19 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in HWAY as long as it's trending above Friday's low of $16.71 and then once it sustains a move or close above $18.73 to $19 with volume that hits near or above 449,755 shares. If that move starts soon, then HWAY will set up to re-test or possibly take out its 52-week high at $22.20.

Itron

Itron (ITRI) provides metering solutions, meter data management software and knowledge application solutions to electric, natural gas and water utilities worldwide. This stock closed up 10.8% at $39.96 in Friday's trading session.

Friday's Volume: 1.67 million

Three-Month Average Volume: 442,995

Volume % Change: 285%

From a technical perspective, ITRI gapped sharply higher here and broke out into its previous gap-down-day zone from February with heavy upside volume. This move also pushed shares of ITRI back above its 200-day moving average of $39.93 after it hit an intraday high of $41.04, but the stock closed just above its 200-day at $39.96. This monster spike higher on Friday is starting to push shares of ITRI within range of triggering another big breakout trade. That trade will hit if ITRI manages to take out some key near-term overhead resistance levels at $42 to $43.27 and then once it takes out some past resistance at $43.80 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in ITRI as long as it's trending above Friday's low of $37.33 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that's near or above 442,995 shares. If that breakout kicks off soon, then ITRI will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $46 to $47, or even $48.50.

Loral Space & Communications

Loral Space & Communications (LORL), through its subsidiaries, operates as a specialty retailer of automotive aftermarket parts, accessories, batteries and maintenance items. This stock closed up 3.3% at $71.99 in Friday's trading session.

Friday's Volume: 305,000

Three-Month Average Volume: 103,340

Volume % Change: 184%

From a technical perspective, LORL spiked notably higher here right above its 200-day moving average of $71.52 with above-average volume. This move is quickly pushing shares of LORL within range of triggering a near-term breakout trade. That trade will hit if LORL manages to take out its 50-day moving average of $74.33 to some more near-term overhead resistance at $75.33 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in LORL as long as it's trending above Friday's low of $69.13 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that's near or above 103,340 shares. If that breakout materializes soon, then, LORL will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $80 to $80.75, or even its 52-week high at $82.13

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

-- Written by Roberto Pedone in Delafield, Wis.


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

Roberto Pedone, based out of Delafield, Wis., 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.