Stock Quotes in this Article: DMND, EZPW, POL, MTOR

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 recently.

PolyOne

PolyOne (POL) provides specialized polymer materials, services and solutions with operations in specialty polymer formulations, color and additive systems, polymer distribution and specialty vinyl resins. This stock closed up 5.5% at $35.50 in Wednesday's trading session.

Wednesday's Volume: 2.30 million

Three-Month Average Volume: 491,284

Volume % Change: 361%

From a technical perspective, POL spiked sharply higher here right off its 50-day moving average of $33.73 with heavy upside volume. This move briefly pushed shares of POL into breakout and new 52-week-high territory, after the stock flirted with some near-term overhead resistance levels at $35.60 to $35.77. Shares of POL tagged an intraday high of $35.99 before closing at $35.50. Market players should now look for a continuation move higher in the short-term if POL manages to take out Wednesday's high of $35.99 with strong volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in POL as long as it's trending above Wednesday's low of $33.36 or above more near-term support at $32.91 and then once it sustains a move or close above $35.99 with volume that's near or above 491,284 shares. If we get that move soon, then POL will set up to enter new 52-week-high territory, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that move are $40 to $43.

Diamond Foods

Diamond Foods (DMND), a packaged food company, processes, markets and distributes snack products and nuts. This stock closed up 2.4% at $25.96 in Wednesday's trading session.

Wednesday's Volume: 529,000

Three-Month Average Volume: 322,606

Volume % Change: 75%

From a technical perspective, DMND spiked notably higher here right off its 50-day moving average of $25.11 with above-average volume. This stock has been consolidating and trending sideways for the last three months, with shares moving between $23.16 on the downside and $26.39 on the upside. This spike on Wednesday is quickly pushing shares of DMND within range of triggering a big breakout trade above the upper-end of its recent sideways trading chart pattern. That breakout will hit if DMND manages to take out Wednesday's high of $26.14 to its 52-week high at $26.39 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in DMND as long as it's trending above its 50-day at $25.11 or above $24 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that's near or above 322,606 shares. If that breakout hits soon, then DMND will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance level at $28.29. Any high-volume move above $28.29 will then give DMND a chance to re-fill some of its previous gap-down-day zone from March of 2012 that started just above $35.

EZCorp

EZCorp (EZPW) provides specialty consumer financial services. This stock closed up 20.3% to $11.25 in Wednesday's trading session.

Wednesday's Volume: 4.55 million

Three-Month Average Volume: 578,566

Volume % Change: 770%

From a technical perspective, EZPW gapped up sharply higher here back above its 50-day moving average of $11.04 with monster upside volume. This move is quickly pushing shares of EZPW within range of triggering a big breakout trade. That trade will hit if EZPW manages to take out some key overhead resistance levels at $11.92 to $12.31 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in EZPW as long as it's trending above Wednesday's low of $10.71 or above $10.50 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 578,566 shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then EZPW will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $14 to $15, or even its 200-day moving average at $15.93.

Meritor

Meritor (MTOR) designs, develops, manufactures, sells, markets, distributes, services and supports integrated systems, modules and components to original equipment manufacturers and the aftermarket for the commercial vehicle, transportation and industrial sectors. This stock closed up 9.5% at $10.55 in Wednesday's trading session.

Wednesday's Volume: 5.60 million

Three-Month Average Volume: 1.76 million

Volume % Change: 262%

From a technical perspective, MTOR spiked sharply higher here right above some near-term support at $9.25 with heavy upside volume. This spike is quickly pushing shares of MTOR within range of triggering a major breakout trade. That trade will hit if MTOR manages to take out Wednesday's high of $10.63 to $10.75 and then once it clears its 52-wek high at $10.90 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in MTOR as long as it's trending above $9.25 or above its 50-day at $8.92 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that this near or above 1.76 million shares. If that breakout hits soon, then MTOR will set up to enter new 52-week-high territory, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that breakout are $13 to $14.

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