Stock Quotes in this Article: AFFY, ISBC, RPRX, FRAN

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. Many times when above average volume moves into 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.”

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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.

 

Repros Therapeutics

Repros Therapeutics (RPRX) is a development-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on the development of new drugs to treat hormonal and reproductive system disorders. This stock is trading up 11.2% at $10.60 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 431,000

Average Volume: 218,202

Volume % Change: 355%

From a technical perspective, RPRX is skyrocketing today with heavy volume, and this move has pushed the stock into breakout territory since it’s taken out some near-term overhead resistance levels at $9.58 to $9.94.

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Traders should now look for long-biased trades in RPRX as long as its trending above today’s low of $9.53 with strong upside volume flows. I would consider any upside volume day that registers near or above 218,202 shares as bullish. If we continue to see RPRX hold that trend, then this stock could easily be setting up to trade higher towards $15 a share in the near future.

On the flipside, I would avoid this stock or look for short-biased trades if it fails to hold this breakout, and then drops back below some major near-term support at $8.79 with high volume.

Investors Bancorp

Investors Bancorp (ISBC), a New Jersey charted savings bank, is in the business of attracting deposits from the public through its branch network and borrowing funds in the wholesale markets to originate loans and to invest in securities. This stock is trading up 4.4% at $16.84 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 394,000

Average Volume: 165,153

Volume % Change: 501%

Shares of ISBC are ripping to the upside today after Barron’s highlighted the stock in a report over the weekend, calling it a well-run, well-capitalized and growing bank selling at a discount price.

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From a technical perspective, ISBC is gapping up strong here with heavy volume, and it’s breaking out above some near-term overhead resistance at $16.50. This move has now pushed ISBC into new 52-week high territory, which is bullish price action.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades as long as ISBC is trending above that key breakout level of $16.50 with strong upside volume flows. I would consider any upside volume day that registers near or above 165,153 shares as bullish. If we continue to see ISBC hold that trend, then this stock has a great chance of tagging $20 in the near future.

On the flipside, if ISBC moves back below $16.50 with heavy volume, then it will likely fill today’s gap and head lower.

Affymax

Affymax (AFFY) is a biopharmaceutical company engaged in developing drugs to improve the treatment of serious and often life-threatening conditions. Its product candidate, peginesatide, is for the treatment of anemia in chronic kidney disease patients on dialysis. This stock is trading up 5% at $17.81 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 1.2 million

Average Volume: 1

Volume % Change: 130%

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From a technical perspective, AFFY is ripping higher here right off some near-term support at $17 with above average volume. This move has also pushed AFFY into breakout territory, since the stock has taken out some near-term overhead resistance levels at $17.16 to $17.33. This move has also pushed AFFY into new 52-week high territory, which is bullish technical price action.

Traders should continue to look for long-biased traders as long as AFFY is trending above today’s low of $16.95 with strong upside volume flows. I would consider any upside volume day that registers near or above 1 million shares as bullish. If AFFY can hold that trend, then this stock has a great chance of hitting $20 in the near future.

I also featured AFFY earlier this month in “5 Hated Stocks Set to Soar on Earnings.”

Francesca’s

Francesca’s (FRAN) operates a national chain of retail boutiques designed and merchandised. Its Francesca’s collections are a specialty retailer in the U.S. This stock is trading up 1.4% at $34.76 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 1.1 million

Average Volume: 806,862

Volume % Change: 165%

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From a technical perspective, FRAN is moving notably higher here with above average volume, and it’s started to enter breakout territory above some past overhead resistance at $33.93. This move is coming after FRAN soared on Friday from $31 to over $34 on monster volume.

Traders should continue to look for long-biased traders in FRAN as long as it’s trending above $34 to $33 with strong upside volume flows. I would consider any upside volume day that registers near or above 806,862 shares as bullish. If we continue to see FRAN hold that trend, then this stock has a great chance of hitting $40 in the near future. The probability of hitting $40 will increase once it takes out today’s intraday high of $36.11 with high volume.

On the flipside, I would avoid FRAN or look for short-biased trades if it moves back below $32.75 to 32.50 with heavy volume. That would mean the breakout has failed and FRAN could retrace some of its recent gains.

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.

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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 stocks, options, futures, commodities and currencies. He is also an outside contributor to Beconequity.com and maintains the website Maddmoney.net, which he sold to Blue Wave Advisors in 2008. Roberto studied International Business at The Milwaukee School of Engineering, and he spent a year overseas studying business in Lubeck, Germany.