Stock Quotes in this Article: MYRG, NTG, WLT, MEMP

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.

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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 today.

Tortoise MLP Fund (NTG)

Under normal circumstances, the fund will invest at least 80% of total assets in equity securities of MLPs in the energy infrastructure sector, with at least 70% of total assets in equity securities of natural gas infrastructure MLPs. This stock is trading up 1.1% at $25 in recent trading.

Today's Volume: 174,000

Average Volume: 109,885

Volume % Change: 232%

From a technical perspective, NTG is bouncing modestly higher here right off its 200-day at $24.80 and just above its 50-day at $24.99 with above-average volume. This move is starting to push NTG within range of triggering a major breakout trade. That trade will hit once NTG manages to take out some near-term overhead resistance levels at $26.03 to $26.21 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in NTG as long as it's trending above some near-term support at $23.77, and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 109,885 shares. If that breakout hits soon, then NTG will set up to enter all-time high territory once it clears $26.21. Some possible upside targets are $30 to $32 if we get that breakout soon.

Walter Energy (WLT)

This company is a producer and exporter of metallurgical coal for the global steel industry. It also produces steam coal, coal bed methane gas, metallurgical coke and other related products. This stock is trading up 8% at $30.84 in recent trading.

Today's Volume: 4.51 million

Average Volume: 3.45 million

Volume % Change: 136%

Shares of WLT are ripping higher today after a Sterne Agee analyst predicted the battered coal sector may see improvement next year, if prices become more competitive and demand strengthens.

From a technical perspective, WLT is soaring higher here right off some near-term support at $28.01 with heavy upside volume. This stock has been downtrending for the last month, with shares dropping from a high of $41.18 to its recent low of $28.01. During that move, shares of WLT have been consistently making lower highs and lower lows, which is bearish technical price action. That said, WLT is now starting to spike higher and break out above some near-term overhead resistance at $30.53 with volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in WLT as long as it's trending above its $29.51 to $30.53 with strong upside volume flows. I would consider any upside volume day that registers near or above 3.45 million shares as bullish. If WLT can maintain that trend, then this stock will set up to re-test or possibly take out its 50-day moving average of $33.62.

MYR Group (MYRG)

This is a specialty contractor serving the electrical infrastructure market in the United States. It operates as a national contractor servicing the Transmission and Distribution sector of the United States electric utility industry. This stock is trading up 3.1% at $21.39 in recent trading.

Today's Volume: 146,000

Average Volume: 138,865

Volume % Change: 87%

From a technical perspective, MYRG is bouncing higher here right off its 50-day moving average of $20.47 with above-average volume. This spike is quickly moving MYRG within range of triggering a major breakout trade. That trade will hit once MYRG manages to take out some near-term overhead resistance at $21.73 with high volume. At last check, MYRG has hit an intraday high of $21.81 and volume is just starting to surpass its three-month average action of 138,865 shares.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in MYRG as long as it's trending above its 50-day at $20.47, and then once it sustains a move or close above $21.73 to $21.81 with volume that hits near or above 138,865 shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then MYRG will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance level at $23.50. Any high-volume move above $23.50 will then put $25 to $26.30 into focus for shares of MYRG.

Memorial Production Partners (MEMP)

This company owns and acquires oil and natural gas properties in North America. Its properties are located in South and East Texas. This stock is trading up 4.9% at $18.47 in recent trading.

Today's Volume: 190,000

Average Volume: 72,069

Volume % Change: 328%

From a technical perspective, MEMP is spiking higher here back above its 200-day moving average of $18.08 with above-average volume. This move is also pushing MEMP into near-term breakout territory, since the stock has started to flirt with some near-term overhead resistance at $18.47. At last check, MEMP has hit an intraday high of $18.98 and volume is well above its three-month average action of 72,069 shares. Shares of MEMP are now moving within range of another major breakout trade. That trade will hit once MEMP manages to take out its 50-day moving average of $19.13 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in MEMP as long as it's trending above its 200-day at $18.08, and then once it sustains a move or close above its 50-day at $19.13 with volume that hits near or above 72,069 shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then MEMP will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance level at $20.70 to $20.75. Any move above $20.75 will then push MEMP into all-time 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.

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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 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.