Stock Quotes in this Article: CRZO, RUE, SGY, PANW

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.

With that in mind, let's take a look at several stocks rising on unusual volume today.

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Palo Alto Networks (PANW)

This company is engaged in providing network security with its innovative platform that allows enterprises, service providers, and government entities to secure their networks and safely enable the applications running on their networks. This stock is trading up 1% at $54.54 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 769,000

Average Volume: 729,018

Volume % Change: 118%

From a technical perspective, PANW is moving modestly higher here right above its 50-day moving average of $52.42 with above-average volume. This move is quickly pushing shares of PANW within range of triggering a near-term breakout trade. That trade will hit if PANW manages to clear some near-term overhead resistance levels at $56 to $57.34 with high volume. At last check, PANW has hit an intraday high of $55.80 and volume is just starting to surpass its three-month average action of 729,018 shares.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in PANW as long as it’s trending above today’s low of $53.14, and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 729,018 shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then PANW will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $60 to $64.

rue21 (RUE)

This is a specialty apparel retailer offering the newest fashion trends at every day great value. It offers a broad selection of merchandise for anyone who wants to look and feel 21. This stock is trading up 4.8% at $30.24 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 296,000

Average Volume: 246,479

Volume % Change: 89%

From a technical perspective, RUE is spiking higher here right off its 50-day moving average of $28.85 with above-average volume. This move is starting to push RUE into breakout territory, since the stock has taken out some near-term overhead resistance levels at $29.82 to $30.01. At last check, RUE has hit an intraday high of $30.58 and volume is a modestly above its three-month average action of 246,479 shares.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in RUE as long as it’s trending above its 50-day at $28.85, and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that this near or above 246,479 shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then RUE will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $31.46 to $32.94. Any move above $32.94 will then put $33.65 into focus for shares of RUE.

Carrizo Oil & Gas (CRZO)

This is an energy company engaged in the exploration, development and production of natural gas and oil. This stock is trading up 3.6% at $21.63 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 1.08 million

Average Volume: 972,979

Volume % Change: 71%

From a technical perspective, CRZO is ripping higher here back above its 50-day moving average of $21.14 with above-average volume. This move is quickly pushing shares of CRZO within range of triggering a near-term breakout trade. That trade will hit if CRZO manages to take out some near-term overhead resistance levels at $21.95 to $22.69 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in CRZO as long as it’s trending above its 50-day at $21.14, and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 972,979 shares. If that breakout hits soon, then CRZO will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance level at its 200-day moving average of $24.16. Any move above its 200-day will then put $27.16 to $27.30 into range for shares of CRZO.

Stone Energy (SGY)

This is an independent oil and natural gas company engaged in the acquisition, exploration, exploitation, development and operation of oil and gas properties. This stock is trading up 5.6% at $22.21 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 828,000

Average Volume: 765,495

Volume % Change: 85%

From a technical perspective, SGY is soaring higher here right off its 50-day moving average of $21.03 with above-average volume. This move is quickly pushing shares of SGY within range of triggering a near-term breakout trade. That trade will hit if SGY manages to take out some near-term overhead resistance at $22.70 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in SGY as long as it’s trending above some near-term support at $20.56, and then once it sustains a move or close above $22.70 with volume that hits near or above 765,495 shares. If that breakout hits soon, then SGY will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at its 200-day of $23.96 to $24.47. Any move above $24.47 to $24.70 will then put $25 to $26 into focus for shares of SGY.

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.