Stock Quotes in this Article: BGFV, RMD, ZBRA, CLD

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 today.

Cloud Peak Energy

Cloud Peak Energy (CLD) is a producer of coal in the U.S. and in the Powder River Basin. This stock closed up 4.3% at $15.98 in Monday's trading session.

Monday's Volume: 1.18 million

Three-Month Average Volume: 724,852

Volume % Change: 155%

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From a technical perspective, CLD spiked sharply higher here right off its 50-day moving average of $15.30 with above-average volume. This move pushed shares of CLD into breakout territory, since the stock took out some near-term overhead resistance levels at $15.46 to $15.63. This move also pushed shares of CLD out of its recent downtrend, since the stock closed above a key downtrend line that dated back to July.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in CLD as long as it's trending above Monday's low of $15.18 or above $15, and then once it sustains a move or close above Monday's high of $16.07 with volume that this near or above 724,852 shares. If we get that move soon, then CLD will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at its 200-day moving average of $17.14 to $17.50. Any high-volume move above those levels will then give CLD a chance to tag $19 to $20.

ResMed

ResMed (RMD) is a developer, manufacturer and distributor of medical equipment for treating, diagnosing, and managing sleep-disordered breathing and other respiratory disorders. This stock closed up 1.1% at $50.13 in Monday's trading session.

Monday's Volume: 3.65 million

Three-Month Average Volume: 1.12 million

Volume % Change: 195%

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From a technical perspective, RMD trended modestly higher here right above its recent low of $48.72 with solid upside volume. This stock gapped down sharply recently from over $56 to that low of $48.72 with heavy downside volume. That low of $48.72 hit right above its 200-day moving average of $47.43. This bounce on Monday could be signaling that the downside volatility for shares of RMD is over in the short-term.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in RMD as long as it's trending above that low of $48.72 or above its 200-day at $47.43 and then once it sustains a move or close above its gap down day high of $51.68 and its 50-day at $52.37 with volume that's near or above 1.12 million shares. If that breakout hits soon, then RMD will set up to re-fill some of its previous gap down zone that started just above $56.

Big 5 Sporting Goods

Big 5 Sporting Goods (BGFV) operates as a sporting goods retailer in the Western U.S. This stock closed up 1.6% at $16.45 in Monday's trading session.

Monday's Volume: 648,000

Three-Month Average Volume: 284,748

Volume % Change: 165%

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From a technical perspective, BGFV rose modestly higher here right above some near-term support at $15.85 with above-average volume. This stock has been trending sideways for the last two months, with shares moving between $15.27 on the downside and $17.10 on the upside. This spike is starting to push shares of BGFV within range of triggering a breakout trade above the upper-end of its recent range. That breakout will hit if BGFV manages to take out some near-term overhead resistance levels at $16.75 to $17.10, and then once it clears its 200-day moving average at $17.57 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in BGFV as long as it's trending above support at $15.85, and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that's near or above 284,748 shares. If that breakout hits soon, then BGFV will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $20 to $21.

Zebra Technologies

Zebra Technologies (ZBRA) designs, manufactures and sells specialty printing devices that print variable information on demand at the point of issuance. This stock closed up 1.9% at $48.19 in Monday's trading session.

Monday's Volume: 404,000

Three-Month Average Volume: 188,451

Volume % Change: 145%

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From a technical perspective, ZBRA spiked modestly higher here right above its 50-day moving average of $46.35 with above-average volume. This stock has been uptrending strong for the last month and change, with shares moving higher from its low of $43.92 to its recent high of $48.36. During that uptrend, shares of ZBRA have been making mostly higher lows and higher highs, which is bullish technical price action. This move is quickly pushing shares of ZBRA within range of triggering a big breakout trade. That trade will hit if ZBRA manages to take out some near-term overhead resistance at $48.36 to its 52-week high at $49.38 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in ZBRA as long as it's trending above Monday's low of $47.11 or above its 50-day at $46.36, and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that's near or above 188,451 shares. If that breakout hits soon, then ZBRA will set up to enter new 52-week-high territory, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that breakout are $55 to $57.

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.