Stock Quotes in this Article: Q, SUNE, GRFS

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.

SunEdison

SunEdison (SUNE) develops, manufactures and sells silicon wafers to the semiconductor industry. This stock closed up 6% to $20.67 in Wednesday's trading session.

Wednesday's Volume: 26.98 million

Three-Month Average Volume: 12.80 million

Volume % Change: 110%

From a technical perspective, SUNE surged higher here right off its 50-day moving average of $18.74 with strong upside volume flows. This spike higher on Wednesday is starting to push shares of SUNE within range of triggering a major breakout trade. That trade will hit if SUNE manages to take out some key overhead resistance levels at $21.50 to $21.76 and then once it clears its 52-week high at $21.93 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in SUNE as long as it's trending above its 50-day at $18.74 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that registers near or above 12.80 million shares. If that breakout materializes soon, then SUNE will set up to enter new 52-week-high territory, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that breakout are $25 to $30.

Quintiles Transnational

Quintiles Transnational (Q) provides biopharmaceutical development services and commercial outsourcing services in the Americas, Europe, Africa and the Asia-Pacific. This stock closed up 2.3% at $52.63 in Wednesday's trading session.

Wednesday's Volume: 1.22 million

Three-Month Average Volume: 947,525

Volume % Change: 76%

From a technical perspective, Q jumped notably higher here right off some near-term support at $51 with above-average volume. This spike higher on Wednesday pushed shares of Q into breakout territory, since the stock took out some near-term overhead resistance at $51.87. Shares of Q are now starting to trend within range of triggering a much bigger breakout trade. That trade will hit if Q manages to take out some key overhead resistance levels at $53.67 to $54.99 and then once it clears its all-time high of $55 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in Q as long as it's trending above support at $51 or above its 50-day moving average of $49.74 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 947,525 shares. If that breakout hits soon, then Q will set up to enter new all-time-high territory above $55, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that move are $60 to $65.

Grifols

Grifols (GRFS), a specialty biopharmaceutical company, develops, manufactures and distributes a range of plasma derivative products primarily in the European Union, Spain, the U.S., Canada and internationally. U.S. This stock closed up 1.3% to $42.56 in Wednesday's trading session.

Wednesday's Volume: 1.16 million

Three-Month Average Volume: 588,361

Volume % Change: 90%

From a technical perspective, GRFS trended modestly higher here right above its 50-day moving average of $40.68 with above-average volume. This move higher on Wednesday is starting to push shares of GRFS within range of triggering a big breakout trade. That trade will hit if GRFS manages to clear Wednesday's intraday high of $43.06 to its 52-week high at $43.50 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in GRFS as long as it's trending above its 50-day at $40.68 or above more support near $40 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 588,361 shares. If that breakout starts soon, then GRFS will set up to enter new 52-week-high territory, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that breakout are $50 to $55.

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.