Stock Quotes in this Article: ANIK, MWV, USMO, VCRA

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.

Vocera Communications

Vocera Communications (VCRA), mobile technology company, provides mobile communication solutions in healthcare, hospitality, energy, retail and other mobile work environments in the U.S. and internationally. This stock closed up 4.1% at $15.25 in Wednesday's trading session.

Wednesday's Volume: 1.02 million

Three-Month Average Volume: 173,066

Volume % Change: 453%

From a technical perspective, VCRA ripped sharply higher right above some near-term support at $14.18 with monster upside volume. This stock recently formed a double bottom chart pattern at $14.08 to $14.18. Following that bottom, shares of VCRA have started to rip higher and move within range of triggering a near-term breakout trade. That trade will hit if VCRA manages to take out some near-term overhead resistance levels at $15.83 and then once it clears its 50-day moving average at $16.06 to its 200-day moving average at $16.72 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in VCRA as long as it's trending above those double bottom support zones and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 173,066 shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then VCRA will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $17.95 to $18.26, or its $19.33.

Anika Therapeutics

Anika Therapeutics (ANIK), together with its subsidiaries, develops, manufactures and commercializes therapeutic products for tissue protection, healing and repair in the U.S., Europe and internationally. This stock closed up 4.4% at $42.74 in Wednesday's trading session.

Wednesday's Volume: 696,000

Three-Month Average Volume: 451,148

Volume % Change: 75%

From a technical perspective, ANIK ripped sharply higher here right off its 50-day moving average of $40.36 with above-average volume. This move is quickly pushing shares of ANIK within range of triggering a big breakout trade. That trade will hit if ANIK manages to take out some key overhead resistance levels at $43.21 to $44.60 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in ANIK as long as it's trending above its 50-day at $40.36 or above more near-term support at $38.74 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that's near or above 451,148 shares. If that breakout materializes soon, then ANIK will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance level at its 52-week high of $52.49.

USA Mobility

USA Mobility (USMO) provides wireless messaging, mobile voice and data, and unified communications solutions to the health care, government and enterprise sectors in the U.S., Europe, Australia, Asia and the Middle East. This stock closed up 2.3% at $17.13 in Wednesday's trading session.

Wednesday's Volume: 320,000

Three-Month Average Volume: 143,444

Volume % Change: 195%

From a technical perspective, USMO spiked notably higher here right off its 50-day moving average of $16.45 with strong upside volume. This stock recently formed a double bottom chart pattern at $16.35 to $16.36. Following that bottom, shares of USMO have started to spike higher and move within range of triggering a big breakout trade. That trade will hit if USMO manages to take out some key near-term overhead resistance at $17.50 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in USMO as long as it's trending above its 50-day at $16.45 or above more support at $16.35 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that's near or above 143,444 shares. If that breakout hits soon, then USMO will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $19 to its 52-week high at $19.50.

MeadWestvaco

MeadWestvaco (MWV) provides packaging solutions to health care, beauty and personal care, food, beverage, home and garden, tobacco and agricultural industries worldwide. This stock closed up 3.3% at $39.07 in Wednesday's trading session.

Wednesday's Volume: 4.69 million

Three-Month Average Volume: 1.42 million

Volume % Change: 235%

From a technical perspective, MWV ripped sharply higher here off its 50-day moving average of $37.39 with above-average volume. This move pushed shares of MWV into breakout territory, after the stock took out some near-term overhead resistance at $38.89. Market players should now look for a continuation move higher in the short-term if MWV manages to take out Wednesday's high of $39.07 to its 52-week high at $39.38 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in MWV as long as it's trending above its 50-day at $37.39 or above more near-term support at $37.31 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that's near or above 1.42 million shares. If that breakout hits soon, then MWV will set up to enter new 52-week-high territory, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that breakout are $45 to $47.

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.