Stock Quotes in this Article: EBAY, NGVC, TW

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 today.

Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage

Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage (NGVC) is a specialty retailer of natural and organic groceries and dietary supplements. This stock closed up 3.9% to $38.24 in Monday's trading session.

Monday's Volume: 196,000

Three-Month Average Volume: 116,850

Volume % Change: 70%

From a technical perspective, NGVC spiked higher here back above its 50-day moving average of $37.84 with above-average volume. This move is starting to push shares of NGVC within range of triggering a near-term breakout trade. That trade will hit if NGVC manages to take out some near-term overhead resistance levels at $38.75 to $40.79 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in NGVC as long as it's trending above Monday's low of $37.31 or above more near-term support at $36 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 116,850 shares. If that breakout hits soon, then NGVC will set up to re-test or possibly take out its all-time high at $42.86. Any high-volume move above $42.86 will then give NGVC a chance to tag $50.

eBay

eBay (EBAY) is a global commerce platform and payments provider. This stock closed up 1.6% at $51.35 in Monday's trading session.

Monday's Volume: 23.86 million

Three-Month Average Volume: 11.56 million

Volume % Change: 98%

From a technical perspective, EBAY gapped modestly higher here with above-average volume. This move briefly pushed shares of EBY back above its 50-day moving average of $52.79 before the stock closed just below that level at $51.35. This move is starting to push shares of EBAY within range of triggering a near-term breakout trade. That trade will hit if EBAY manages to take out Monday's high of $53.08 to its 200-day at $53.30, and then once it clears some more near-term overhead resistance levels at $53.85 to $54.80 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in EBAY as long as it's trending above Monday's low of $51.23 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that's near or above 11.56 million shares. If that breakout hits soon, then EBAY will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $57.50 to its 52-week high at $58.04. Any high-volume move above those levels will then give EBAY a chance to trend north of $60.

Towers Watson

Towers Watson (TW) is a global professional services company offering solutions in the areas of benefits, talent management, rewards and risks and capital management. This stock closed up 3.2% to $116.25 in Monday's trading session.

Monday's Volume: 1.75 million

Three-Month Average Volume: 771,441

Volume % Change: 151%

From a technical perspective, TW spiked higher here right off some near-term support at $110 and back above its 50-day moving average of $112.67 with above-average volume. This move also pushed shares of TW into breakout territory, since this stock took out some near-term overhead resistance at $115.98. Shares of TW are now quickly moving within range of triggering another big breakout trade. That trade will hit if TW manages to take out Monday's high of $117.24 and its 52-week high at $118.73 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in TW as long as it's trending above its 50-day at $112.67 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 771,441 shares. If that breakout hits soon, then TW will set up to enter new 52-week-high territory, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that breakout are $125 to $130.

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.