Stock Quotes in this Article: CNMD, HXL, PDS, MFRM

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.

Mattress Firm

Mattress Firm (MFRM), through its subsidiaries, operates as a specialty retailer of mattresses, and related products and accessories in the U.S. This stock closed up 3.6% to $46.92 in Wednesday's trading session.

Wednesday's Volume: 621,000

Three-Month Average Volume: 221,623

Volume % Change: 208%

From a technical perspective, MFRM spiked notably higher here right above its 50-day moving average of $44.68 with above-average volume. This move is quickly pushing shares of MFRM within range of triggering a big breakout trade. That trade will hit if MFRM manages to take out some near-term overhead resistance levels at $48 to its all-time high at $49.81 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in MFRM as long as it's trending above its 50-day at $44.68 or above more support at $44.50 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 221,623 shares. If that breakout hits soon, then MFRM will set up to enter new all-time-high territory, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that breakout are $55 to $60.

Precision Drilling

Precision Drilling (PDS) operates as an oilfield services company primarily in Canada, the U.S., Mexico and the Middle East. This stock closed up 5.8% to $12.47 in Wednesday's trading session.

Wednesday's Volume: 8.02 million

Three-Month Average Volume: 1.98 million

Volume % Change: 325%

From a technical perspective, PDS gapped up sharply higher here right above some near-term support at $11.69 with heavy upside volume. This move briefly pushed shares of PDS into breakout territory, after the stock flirted with some near-term overhead resistance at $12.49. Shares of PDS close just below that level at $12.47, but very close to its intraday high of $12.53. Market players should now look for a continuation move higher in the short-term if PDS manages to take out Wednesday's high of $12.53 with strong volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in PDS as long as it's trending above Wednesday's low of $12.05 or above more key near-term support at $11.69 and then once it sustains a move or close above $12.53 with volume that hits near or above 1.98 million shares. If that move starts soon, then PDS will set up to enter new 52-week-high territory, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that action are $14 to $15.

Conmed

Conmed (CNMD) provides surgical devices and equipment for minimally invasive procedures and monitoring. This stock closed up 6.5% at $48.21 in Wednesday's trading session.

Wednesday's Volume: 599,000

Three-Month Average Volume: 200,934

Volume % Change: 233%

From a technical perspective, CNMD ripped sharply higher here back above its 50-day moving average of $45 with strong upside volume. This move pushed shares of CNMD into breakout territory, after it took out some near-term overhead resistance at $47.58 and flirted with more resistance at $48.88. Market players should now look for a continuation move higher in the short-term if CNMD manages to take out Wednesday's high of $49.07 to its 52-week high at $49.10 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in CNMD as long as it's trending above Wednesday's low of $46 or above its 50-day at $45 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 200,934 shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then CNMD 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.

Hexcel

Hexcel (HXL), together with its subsidiaries, engages in the development, manufacture and marketing of lightweight and high-performance structural materials for use in commercial aerospace, space and defense, and industrial applications. This stock closed up 2.4% at $43.44 in Wednesday's trading session.

Wednesday's Volume: 1.02 million

Three-Month Average Volume: 641,881

Volume % Change: 77%

From a technical perspective, HXL jumped notably higher here back above its 50-day moving average of $43.17 with above-average volume. This stock recently pulled back right to its 200-day moving average and has subsequently bounced higher off that level. Market players should now look for a continuation move to the upside in the short-term if HXL can manage to take out Wednesday's high of $43.45 to some more near-term overhead resistance at $44.38 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in HXL as long as it's trending above Wednesday's low of $42.47 or above $41.50 and then once it sustains a move or close above $43.45 to $44.38 with volume that's near or above 641,881 shares. If that move kicks off soon, then HXL will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $45.51 to its 52-week high at $46.46.

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.