Stock Quotes in this Article: CI, COR, URS, PACD

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.

Pacific Drilling

Pacific Drilling (PACD) operates as an offshore drilling contractor. This stock closed up 5.1% at $10.29 in Friday's trading session.

Friday's Volume: 1.32 million

Three-Month Average Volume: 341,348

Volume % Change: 307%

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From a technical perspective, PACD ripped sharply higher here right above some near-term support at $9.59 with heavy upside volume. This move is quickly pushing shares of PACD within range of triggering a near-term breakout trade. That trade will hit if PACD manages to take out both its 200-day moving average of $10.46 and its 50-day moving average of $10.66 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in PACD as long as it's trending above support at $9.59 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that this near or above 341,348 shares. If that breakout hits soon, then PACD will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $11.50 to $11.60 to its all-time high at $12.25.

Cigna

Cigna (CI), a health services organization, provides insurance and related products and services in the U.S. and internationally. This stock closed up 2% at $77.71 in Friday's trading session.

Friday's Volume: 4.84 million

Three-Month Average Volume: 1.61 million

Volume % Change: 197%


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From a technical perspective, CI jumped modestly higher here right above some near-term support at $73.57 with above-average volume. This stock recently gapped down sharply from over $85 to $76 with heavy downside volume. Shares of CI are now starting to rebound following that move and the stock is quickly moving within range of triggering a near-term breakout trade. That trade will hit if CI manages to take out its 200-day moving average of $78.49 to its gap-down-day high of $81 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in CI as long as it's trending above support at $75.37 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 1.61 million shares. If that breakout hits soon, then CI will set up to re-fill some of its previous gap-down-day zone that started just above $85.

CoreSite Realty

CoreSite Realty (COR) engages in the ownership, acquisition, construction and management of data centers. This stock closed up 3.8% at $31.39 in Friday's trading session.

Friday's Volume: 517,000

Three-Month Average Volume: 150,439

Volume % Change: 274%

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From a technical perspective, COR trended higher here back above its 50-day moving average of $30.95 with above-average volume. This move is quickly pushing shares of COR within range of triggering a near-term breakout trade. That trade will hit if COR manages to take out Friday's high of $31.50 to its 200-day moving average at $32.03 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in COR as long as it's trending above Friday's low of $29.95 or above more near-term support at $29.26 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that's near or above 150,439 shares. If that breakout hits soon, then COR will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $33.74 to $35.33. Any high-volume move above those levels will then give COR a chance to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $37.52 to its 52-week high at $38.57.

URS

URS (URS) provides engineering, construction and technical services to public agencies and private sector clients worldwide. This stock closed up 2% at $43.37 in Friday's trading session.

Friday's Volume: 1.62 million

Three-Month Average Volume: 777,286

Volume % Change: 175%

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From a technical perspective, URS jumped higher here right above some near-term support at $41.62 with above-average volume. This stock recently gapped down sharply from $49.41 to $41.62 with heavy downside volume. Following that move, shares of URS have started to rebound off that recent low of $41.62 and this stock is quickly moving within range of triggering a near-term breakout trade. That trade will hit if URS manages to take out its gap-down-day high of $43.53 with strong volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in URS as long as it's trending above Friday's low of $42.24 or above more support at $41.62 and then once it sustains a move or close above $43.53 with volume that's near or above 777,286 shares. If that breakout hits soon, then URS will set up to re-fill some of its previous gap-down-day zone that started at $49.41.

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.