Stock Quotes in this Article: HTHT, SHLD, WBSN, FNP

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.

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Websense

Websense (WBSN) is a provider of unified Web, data and email content security solutions that are designed to protect data and users from modern cyber-threats, information leaks, legal liability and productivity loss. This stock is trading up 3.3% at $15.48 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 534,000

Average Volume: 233,516

Volume % Change: 294%

Shares of WBSN are trending higher today after the company pre-announced fourth-quarter billings that beat its guidance and disclosed a new CEO will lead the firm.

From a technical perspective, WBSN is gapping higher here right off some near-term support at $15 with above-average volume. This move has started to push WBSN into breakout territory, since the stock is flirting with some near-term overhead resistance at $15.59 to $16.13. At last check, WBSN has hit an intraday high of $15.88 and volume is well above its three-month average action of 233,516 shares.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in WBSN as long as it’s trending above 15.59 to $16.13 with strong upside volume flows. I would consider any upside volume day that registers near or above its three-month average action of 233,516 shares as bullish. If WBSN can maintain that trend, then this stock will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at its 200-day of $16.59 to $16.93. Any high-volume move above $16.93 will then put $18 to $19.25 into focus for shares of WBSN.

Sears Holdings

Sears Holdings (SHLD) is an integrated retailer with over 3,900 full-line and specialty retail stores in the U.S. and Canada. This stock is trading up 7.6% at $44.09 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 1.67 million

Average Volume: 1.24 million

Volume % Change: 104%

From a technical perspective, SHLD is ripping higher here right above some near-term support at $40 with above-average volume. This move is quickly pushing SHLD within range of triggering a near-term breakout trade. That trade will hit if SHLD takes out some near-term overhead resistance levels at $43.78 to $45.43 with high volume. At last check, SHLD has hit an intraday high of $44.38 and volume is well above its three-month average action of 1.24 million shares.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in SHLD as long as it’s trending above $43.78, and then once it sustains a move or close above $45.43 volume that hits near or above 1.24 million shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then SHLD will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at its 50-day of $47.35 to its 200-day at $49.92.

China Lodging Group

China Lodging Group (HTHT), an economy hotel chain in China, is trading up 7.4% at $19.26 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 526,000

Average Volume: 97,534

Volume % Change: 685%

From a technical perspective, HTHT is ripping higher here and entering new 52-week-high territory with heavy upside volume. This move is coming after HTHT recently pushed into breakout territory, above some key overhead resistance levels at 417.47 to $17.55.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in HTHT as long as it’s trending above today’s low of $18.18 to some past overhead resistance at $18.95 with strong upside volume flows. I would consider any upside volume day that registers near or above its three-month average action of 97,534 shares as bullish. If HTHT can maintain that trend, then this stock will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $22.50 to $24.47.

Fifth & Pacific

Fifth & Pacific (FNP), which is engaged in designing and marketing a range of apparel and accessories, operates through four segments: Juicy Couture, Kate Spade, Lucky Brand and Adelington Design Group. This stock is trading up 10.6% at $14.21 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 3.14 million

Average Volume: 1.65 million

Volume % Change: 190%

From a technical perspective, FNP is gapping sharply higher here right above its 50-day moving average of $12.23 with monster upside volume. This stock has been uptrending strongly for the last three months, with shares soaring from its low of $9.98 to its intraday high of $14.42. During that move, shares of FNP have been consistently making higher lows and higher highs, which is bullish technical price action. That move has now pushed FNP into breakout territory, since the stock has cleared some past overhead resistance at $14.06.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in FNP as long as it’s trending above today’s low of $13.39, and then once it sustains a move or close above $14.06 to $14.42 with volume that hits near or above 1.65 million shares. If FNP can maintain that trend, then this stock will set up to re-test or possibly take out its 52-week high of $15.39. Some possible upside targets off a move above its 52-week high are $17 to $20 in the near future.

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.