Stock Quotes in this Article: BBL, MDCO, WPRT, BBRY

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.”

>>5 Stocks Ready to Break Out

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 rising on unusual volume today.

>>5 Stocks Set to Soar on Bullish Earnings

BHP Billiton

BHP Billiton (BBL) is engaged in minerals exploration, development, production and processing, and oil and gas exploration, development and production. This stock is trading up 1.1% at $63.36 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 619,000

Average Volume: 531,748

Volume % Change: 97%

From a technical perspective, BBL is trending higher here right above some near-term support at $62 with above-average volume. This move is quickly pushing shares of BBL within range of triggering a near-term breakout trade, which will hit if BBL manages to clear some near-term overhead resistance at $63.58 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in BBL as long as it’s trending above $62, and then once it sustains a move or close above $63.58 with volume that hits near or above 531,748 shares. If that breakout hits soon, then BBL will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $65 to its 50-day moving average of $65.77. Any high-volume move above its 50-day will then put $68 to $68.31 into range for shares of BBL.

Medicines

Medicines (MDCO) is a global biopharmaceutical company that treats critical care patients through the delivery of innovative, cost-effective medicines to the worldwide hospital marketplace. This stock is trading up 2% at $32.35 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 1.28 million

Average Volume: 791,487

Volume % Change: 171%

Shares of MDCO are trending higher after the company released positive late-stage trial results for its anti-clotting drug Cangrelor. Patients who took Cangrelor had a 22% lower risk of heart attack, death and other serious complications compared with patients using the current standard treatment clopidogrel.

From a technical perspective, MDCO is ripping higher here right above some near-term support at $31.18 with heavy upside volume. This move has briefly pushed shares of MDCO into breakout territory, since the stock has flirted with some key overhead resistance levels at $32.95 to $33.25. At last check, MDCO has hit an intraday high of $33.71 and volume is well above its three-month average action of 791,487 shares.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in MDCO as long as it’s trending above today’s low of $32.10 and then once it sustains a move or close above $32.95 to $33.71 with volume that hits near or above 791,487 shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then MDCO will set up to enter new 52-week-high territory above $33.71, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that breakout are $35 to $38.

Westport Innovations

Westport Innovations (WPRT) is engaged in the research, development and marketing of low-emission engine and fuel injection systems that utilize alternative gaseous fuels such as natural gas, propane or hydrogen. This stock is trading up 7.3% at $31.30 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 1.58 million

Average Volume: 775,959

Volume % Change: 218%

From a technical perspective, WPRT is soaring higher here back above its 200-day moving average of $30.28 with heavy upside volume. This move has also pushed shares of WPRT into breakout territory, since the stock has taken out some near-term overhead resistance levels at $29.77 to $30.94. Shares of WPRT are now quickly moving within range of triggering another breakout trade. That trade will hit if WPRT manages to clear some more overhead resistance levels at $32.89 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in WPRT as long as it’s trending above its 200-day at $30.28 and then once it sustains a move or close above $32.89 with volume that hits near or above 775,959 shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then WPRT will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $35 to $40.

Blackberry

Blackberry (BBRY) designs, manufactures and markets wireless solutions for the mobile communications market worldwide. It provides platforms and solutions for access to information, including email, voice, instant messaging etc. This stock is trading up 10.7% at $14.46 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 60.42 million

Average Volume: 62.22

Volume % Change: 62%

Shares of BBRY are ripping higher here after an interview with Lenovo CEO Yang Yuanqing in the French paper Les Echos reported that an acquisition of Blackberry wasn’t being pursued but could possibly make sense.

From a technical perspective, BBRY is skyrocketing higher here back above its 50-day moving average of $14.08 with strong upside volume. This move has also pushed shares of BBRY into breakout territory, since the stock has cleared some near-term overhead resistance at $13.79. Shares of BBRY are now quickly moving within range of triggering another major breakout trade. That trade will hit if BBRY manages to take out some near-term overhead resistance levels at $15 to $15.49 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in BBRY as long as it’s trending above its 50-day at $14.08, and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 62.22 million shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then RIMM will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $17.22 to $18.32. Any move above $18.32 will then push shares of BBRY into new 52-week-high territory, which is bullish technical price action.

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.

RELATED LINKS:

>>5 Dividend Champs to Buy for 2013
>>4 Big Stocks to Trade (or Not)

>>5 Rocket Stocks Getting Ready for Blastoff

Follow Stockpickr on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.

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.