Stock Quotes in this Article: AUXL, ORA, VRTU, SODA

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.

Auxilium Pharmaceuticals (AUXL)

This is a specialty biopharmaceutical company, which develops and markets products to urologists, endocrinologists, orthopedists and select primary care physicians and plastic surgeons who focus on the hand, and rheumatologists. This stock is trading up 4.4% at $18.35 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 666,000

Average Volume: 485,300

Volume % Change: 85%

From a technical perspective, AUXL is ripping higher here right off some near-term support at $17.65 with above-average volume. This move is quickly pushing AUXL within range of triggering a near-term breakout trade. That trade will hit once AUXL manages to clear some near-term overhead resistance levels at $18.86 to $19.46 and then once it takes out its 50-day moving average at $19.83 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in AUXL as long as it’s trending above $17.65, and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 485,300. If that breakout triggers soon, then AUXL will set up to re-test or possibly take out its 200-day moving average at $21.47.

SodaStream International (SODA)

This company is engaged in developing, manufacturing and marketing home beverage carbonation systems and related products. This stock is trading up 6.6% at $43.27 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 1.39 million

Average Volume: 741,900

Volume % Change: 148%

From a technical perspective, SODA is exploding higher here with heavy upside volume. This move has started to push SODA into breakout territory, since the stock has moved above some near-term overhead resistance levels at $41.65 to $43. Shares of SODA are now quickly moving within range of triggering another major breakout trade. That trade will hit once SODA clears some past overhead resistance at $44.50 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in SODA as long as it’s trending above $41.65, and then once it sustains a move or close above $43 to $44.50 with volume that hits near or above 741,900 shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then SODA will set up to re-test or possibly take out its 52-week high of $48.13. Any high-volume move above $48.13 would then give SODA a chance to push above $50 in the near future.

Ormat Technologies (ORA)

This company is engaged in the geothermal and recovered energy power business. It designs, develops, builds, owns, and operates clean, environmentally friendly geothermal and recovered energy-based power plants. This stock is trading up 4.2% at $20.05 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 147,000

Average Volume: 76,295

Volume % Change: 166%

From a technical perspective, ORA is ripping higher here right off some near-term support at $19 and its moving back above its 200-day at $19.43 with above-average volume. This move is quickly pushing ORA within range of triggering a near-term breakout trade. That trade will hit once ORA manages to take out some near-term overhead resistance at $20.05 with high volume. At last check, ORA has hit an intraday high of $20.16 and volume is well above its three-month average action of 76,295 shares.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in ORA as long as it’s trending above its 200-day at $19.43, and then once it sustains a move or close above $20.05 to $20.16 with volume that hits near or above 76,295 shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then ORA will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance level at $21.15. Any high-volume move above $21.15 would then put $21.50 to $21.78 into focus for shares of ORA.

Virtusa (VRTU)

This is an information technology services company. It uses an offshore delivery model to provide a range of information technology services, including IT consulting, technology implementation and application outsourcing. This stock is trading up 2.5% at $15.58 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 119,000

Average Volume: 66,394

Volume % Change: 140%

From a technical perspective, VRTU is bouncing higher here right off some near-term support at $15 with above-average volume. This move has started to push VRTU above its 200-day at $15.56 and its quickly moving the stock within range of triggering a major breakout trade. That trade will hit once VRTU manages to take out some near-term overhead resistance levels at $16.07 to its 50-day at $16.21 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in VRTU as long as it’s trending above $15, and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 66,394 shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then VRTU will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $17.80 to $18.03.

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.