Stock Quotes in this Article: PRA, XOOM, APAM, AVIV

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 today.

Artisan Partners Asset Management

Artisan Partners Asset Management (APAM) is an independent investment management firm that provides a range equity investment strategies spanning different market capitalization segments and investing styles in both U.S. and non-U.S. markets. This stock closed up 3.3% to $54.75 in Monday's trading session.

Monday's Volume: 400,000

Three-Month Average Volume: 58,920

Volume % Change: 352%

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From a technical perspective, APAM spiked higher here right above its 50-day moving average of $51.32 with strong upside volume. This stock has been uptrending strong for the last two months, with shares soaring higher from its low of $46.02 to its recent high of $55.99. During that uptrend, shares of APAM have been consistently making higher lows and higher highs, which is bullish technical price action. That move has now pushed shares of APAM within range of triggering a near-term breakout trade. That trade will hit if APAM manages to take out Monday's high of $55.80 and then its all-time high at $56.07 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in APAM as long as it's trending above Monday's low of $52.88 or its 50-day at $51.32 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 58,920 shares. If that breakout hits soon, then APAM will set up to enter new all-tim- high territory above, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that breakout are $60 to $65.

Xoom

Xoom (XOOM) provides online consumer-to-consumer international money transfers in close to 30 countries. This stock closed up 4.5% at $35.08 in Monday's trading session.

Monday's Volume: 1.13 million

Three-Month Average Volume: 490,149

Volume % Change: 111%

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From a technical perspective, XOOM ripped higher here right above some near-term support at $33.04 with strong upside volume. This move is quickly pushing shares of XOOM within range of triggering a big breakout trade. That trade will hit if XOOM manages to take out some near-term overhead resistance levels at $35.88 to its all-time high at $36.46 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in XOOM as long as it's trending above Monday's low $33.88 or above more near-term support at $33.04, and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that this near or above 490,149 shares. If that breakout hits soon, then XOOM will set up to enter new all-time-high territory, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that breakout are $40 to $45.

Proassurance

Proassurance (PRA) provides professional liability insurance products to health care service, legal service and other professional service providers in the U.S. This stock closed up 2.2% at $47.40 in Monday's trading session.

Monday's Volume: 855,000

Three-Month Average Volume: 332,423

Volume % Change: 185%

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From a technical perspective, PRA gapped higher here back above its 50-day moving average of $46.29 with above-average volume. Shares of PRA also flirted with its 200-day moving average at $47.92, before closing just below that level at $47.40. This stock has been uptrending strong for the last few weeks with strong upside volume flows, since the stock has pushed higher from its low of $42.29 to its intraday high at $48.28. During that uptrend, shares of PRA have been consistently making higher lows and higher highs, which is bullish technical price action.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in PRA as long as it's trending above its 50-day at $46.29 or above $45 and then once it sustains a move or close above Monday's high of $48.28 with volume that's near or above 332,423 shares. If we get that move soon, then PRA will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $50 to $52.

Aviv Reit

Aviv Reit (AVIV) operates as a self-administered, self-managed real estate investment trust specializing in the ownership and triple-net leasing of post-acute and long-term care skilled nursing facilities. This stock closed up 2.8% at $24.70 in Monday's trading session.

Monday's Volume: 463,000

Three-Month Average Volume: 147,886

Volume % Change: 250%

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From a technical perspective, AVIV trended up here right above its 50-day moving average of $23.06 with heavy upside volume. This move pushed shares of AVIV into breakout territory, since the stock took out some near-term overhead resistance at $24.69. Prior to this breakout, shares of AVIV have been uptrending strong, with the stock moving higher from its low of $21.31 to its intraday high of $24.77. During that move, shares of AVIV have been consistently making higher lows and higher highs, which is bullish technical price action.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in AVIV as long as it's trending above its 50-day at $23.06 and then once it sustains a move or close above Monday's high of $24.77 with volume that's near or above 147,886 shares. If we get that move soon, then AVIV will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $26 to $26.65. Any high-volume move above those levels will then give AVIV a chance to tag $28 to $29.

To see more stocks rising on unusual volume, check out the Stocks Rising pn 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.