Stock Quotes in this Article: AFFY, GIVN, ISRG, PETS

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.

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.

 

PetMed Express

PetMed Express (PETS), a nationwide pet pharmacy, markets prescription and non-prescription pet medications and other health products for dogs, cats and horses direct to the consumer. This stock is trading up 10.7% at $11.20 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 467,000

Average Volume: 215,345

Volume % Change: 411%

Shares of PETS are ripping higher today after the company said that its net income rose 2.6%, as lower costs helped boost its profitability.

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From a technical perspective, PETS is gapping higher here right off its 50-day at $10.14 and back above its 200-day at $11.16 with above-average volume. This move is quickly pushing PETS within range of triggering a major breakout trade. That trade will hit once PETS manages to take out some past overhead resistance at $12.30 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in PETS as long as it’s trending above today’s low of $10.50, and then once it sustains a move or close above $12.30 with volume that hits near or above 215,345 shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then look for PETS to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance level at $13.63.

Given Imaging

Given Imaging (GIVN) develops, manufactures and markets diagnostic products for the visualization and detection of disorders of the gastrointestinal tract. Its products include Capsule Endoscopy and pH Monitoring. This stock is trading up 2.9% at $18.69 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 304,000

Average Volume: 99,354

Volume % Change: 499%

Shares of GIVN are moving notably higher today after Cantor Fitzgerald boosted its price target on the stock from $22 to $25.

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From a technical perspective, GIVN is bouncing up here right off some near-term support at $18 with above-average volume. This move is following a gap up in price from last week that took the stock from $15.50 to above $17.50. That move also has pushed GIVN into overbought territory, since the stock has a current relative strength index of 80.

Overbought can always get more overbought, so traders should now look to play the next major breakout for GIVN. That breakout will hit once GIVN manages to clear some key overhead resistance levels at $19.48 to $19.95 with high volume. Look for a sustained move or close above those levels with volume that hits near or above 99,354 shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then look for GIVN to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $22.19 to $22.92.

Affymax

Affymax (AFFY) is a biopharmaceutical company committed to developing novel drugs to improve the treatment of serious and often life-threatening conditions. This stock is trading up 7.9% at $26.42 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 960,000

Average Volume: 831,132

Volume % Change: 89%

Shares of AFFY are ripping higher here after Baird said following their pullback and after meeting with management, the stock should be bought aggressively. The firm raised its estimates on Omonty’s and increased its near-term prospects that AFFY will beat consensus revenues.

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From a technical perspective, AFFY is bouncing hard here right off some near-term support at $24.16 with above-average volume. This move is quickly pushing AFFY within range of triggering a major breakout trade. That trade will hit once AFFY manages to take out some near-term overhead resistance and its 52-week high at $27.74 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in AFFY as long as it’s trending above $24.16, and then once it sustains a move or close above $27.74 with volume that hits near or above 831,132 shares. If that breakout trigger soon, then look for AFFY to trend north of $30 in the near future.

Intuitive Surgical

Intuitive Surgical (ISRG) designs, manufactures and markets da Vinci Surgical Systems, EndoWrist instruments and surgical accessories. This stock is trading up 1.7% at $547.75 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 376,000

Average Volume: 370,515

Volume % Change: 80%

From a technical perspective, ISRG is bouncing notably higher here right off some near-term support at $540 with above-average volume. This move is quickly pushing ISRG within range of triggering a near-term breakout trade. That trade will hit once ISRG manages to take out some near-term overhead resistance at $554.77 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in ISRG as long as it’s trending above $540, and then once it sustains a move or close above $554.77 with volume that hits near or above 370,515 shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then look for ISRG to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $569.95 to $594.89.

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.