Stock Quotes in this Article: CYTK, MXWL, SMCI, NVGS

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.

Navigator

Navigator (NVGS) owns and operates a fleet of gas carriers worldwide. This stock closed up 2.3% at $24.29 in Monday's trading session.

Monday's Volume: 424,000

Three-Month Average Volume: 209,217

Volume % Change: 110%

From a technical perspective, NVGS spiked modestly higher here right above some near-term support levels at $23 and at $22.40 with above-average volume. This move pushed shares of NVGS into breakout territory, since the stock took out some near-term overhead resistance at $24. Shares of NVGS are now starting to trend within range of triggering another near-term breakout trade. That trade will hit if NVGS manages to take out Monday's high of $24.51 to its 50-day moving average of $24.72 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in NVGS as long as it's trending above $23 or above more support at $22.40 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that's near or above 209,217 shares. If that breakout starts soon, then NVGS will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $27 to $27.50, or even its all-time high at $28.85.

Super Micro Computer

Super Micro Computer (SMCI), together with its subsidiaries, develops and provides high-performance server solutions based on modular and open-standard architecture in the U.S. and internationally. This stock closed up 6.3% at $18.93 in Monday's trading session.

Monday's Volume: 644,000

Three-Month Average Volume: 496,764

Volume % Change: 66%

From a technical perspective, SMCI ripped sharply higher here and broke out above some near-term overhead resistance levels at $18.09 to $18.39 with above-average volume. This move is starting to push shares of SMCI within range of triggering another near-term breakout trade. That trade will hit if SMCI manages to take out Monday's high of $18.98 to its 50-day moving average of $19.23 with strong upside volume flows.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in SMCI as long as it's trending above Monday's low of $18.98 or above $17 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that's near or above 496,764 shares. If that breakout kicks off soon, then SMCI will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $21.41 to $23, or even its 52-week high at $23.54.

Cytokinetics

Cytokinetics (CYTK), a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company, focuses on the discovery and development of novel small molecule therapeutics that modulate muscle function for the potential treatment of serious diseases and medical conditions. This stock closed up 13.4% to $10.80 in Monday's trading session.

Monday's Volume: 2.50 million

Three-Month Average Volume: 907,529

Volume % Change: 154%

From a technical perspective, CYTK skyrocketed higher here right off its 50-day moving average of $9.60 and the stock broke out above some near-term overhead resistance at $9.94 with strong upside volume. This move is quickly pushing shares of CYTK within range of triggering another big breakout trade. That trade will hit if CYTK manages to take out Monday's high of $10.84 to some more near-term overhead resistance at $11.13 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in CYTK as long as it's trending above its 50-day at $9.60 or above $9 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 907,529 shares. If that breakout materializes soon, then CYTK will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $11.84 to $13. Any high-volume move above those levels will then give CYTK a chance to tag its 52-week high at $14.28.

Maxwell Technologies

Maxwell Technologies (MXWL), together with its subsidiaries, develops, manufactures and markets energy storage and power delivery products worldwide. This stock closed up 12% to $15.83 in Monday's trading session.

Monday's Volume: 2.58 million

Three-Month Average Volume: 799,711

Volume % Change: 191%

From a technical perspective, MXWL exploded higher here and broke out above some near-term overhead resistance at $14.95 with strong upside volume. This stock recently formed a major bottoming chart pattern at just under $13 a share. Following that bottom, shares of MXWL have now ripped higher and broken out and the stock is quickly approaching another big breakout trade. That trade will hit if MXWL manages to take out Monday's high of $16.09 to its 52-week high at $16.15 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in MXWL as long as it's trending above Monday's low of $14.18 or above $13.50 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 799,711 shares. If that breakout hits soon, then MXWL will set up to enter new 52-week-high territory, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that breakout are $19 to $20.

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.