Stock Quotes in this Article: ANIK, GPRE, NRP, MANU

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.

 

Manchester United

 

Manchester United (MANU), together with its subsidiaries, is engaged in the ownership and operation of Manchester United Football Club, a professional football club in the United Kingdom. This stock closed up 4.1% to $17.50 in Monday's trading session.

 

Monday's Volume: 973,000

Three-Month Average Volume: 48,028

Volume % Change: 1099%

 

From a technical perspective, MANU surged sharply higher here right off its 50-day moving average of $16.87 with monster upside volume. This spike higher on Monday pushed shares of MANU into breakout territory, since the stock took out some near-term overhead resistance levels at $17 to $17.34. Market players should now look for a continuation move higher in the short-term if MANU manages to take out Monday's intraday high of $17.50 with strong upside volume.

 

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in MANU as long as it's trending above Monday's low of $16.80 and then once it sustains a move or close above $17.50 with volume that hits near or above 48,028 shares. If that move starts soon, then MANU will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $18.48 to its 52-week high of $19.

 

Anika Therapeutics

 

Anika Therapeutics (ANIK), together with its subsidiaries, develops, manufactures, and commercializes therapeutic products for tissue protection, healing, and repair in the U.S., Europe, and internationally. This stock closed up 2.1% to $48.86 in Monday's trading session.

 

Monday's Volume: 1.25 million

Three-Month Average Volume: 347,160

Volume % Change: 272%

 

From a technical perspective, ANIK jumped higher here right above some near-term support at $46 with above-average volume. This spike higher on Monday briefly pushed shares of ANIK into breakout territory, since the stock flirted with some near-term overhead resistance levels at $49.21 to $49.37. Shares of ANIK tagged an intraday high of $51.40, before it closed below that level at $48.86. Market players should now look for a continuation move to the upside in the short-term if ANIK manages to take out Monday's high of $51.36 to its 52-week high of $52.49 with high volume.

 

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in ANIK as long as it's trending above Monday's low of $47.57 or above $46 and then once it sustains a move or close above $51.36 to $52.49 with volume that hits near or above 347,160 shares. If that move begins soon, then ANIK will set up to enter new 52-week-high territory, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that move are $55 to $60.

 

Green Plains

 

Green Plains (GPRE) produces, markets, and distributes ethanol in the U.S. This stock closed up 4.8% at $31.54 in Monday's trading session.

 

Monday's Volume: 1.54 million

Three-Month Average Volume: 1.03 million

Volume % Change: 50%

 

From a technical perspective, GPRE spiked sharply higher here and broke out above some near-term overhead resistance at $30.94 with above-average volume. This spike higher on Monday is quickly pushing shares of GPRE within range of triggering of triggering another big breakout trade. That trade will hit if GPRE manages to clear Monday's intraday high of $31.89 to its 52-week high of $32.60 with high volume.

 

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in GPRE as long as it's trending above some near-term support at $30 or above its 50-day at $28.59 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 1.03 million shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then GPRE will set up to enter new 52-week-high territory, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that breakout are $35 to $40.

 

Natural Resource Partners LP

 

Natural Resource Partners LP (NRP), through its subsidiaries, owns, manages, and leases mineral properties in the U.S. This stock closed up 9.2% to $15.18 in Monday's trading session.

 

Monday's Volume: 1.15 million

Three-Month Average Volume: 270,505

Volume % Change: 316%

 

From a technical perspective, NRP gapped up sharply higher here right into its 50-day moving average of $15.32 with heavy upside volume. This gap to the upside on Monday is starting to push shares of NRP within range of triggering a near-term breakout trade. That trade will hit if NRP manages to take out its 50-day moving average of $15.32 to some more key overhead resistance levels at $15.76 to $16.58 with high volume.

 

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in NRP as long as it's trending above Monday's low of $14.27 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 270,505 shares. If that breakout kicks off soon, then NRP will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at its 200-day moving average of $17 to its gap-down-day high from January at $18.90. Any high-volume move above $18.90 will then give NRP a chance to re-fill some of that previous gap-down-day zone that started near $20.

 

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.