Stock Quotes in this Article: CLFD, HMA, RHT, ANAC

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.

Clearfield

Clearfield (CLFD) is a manufacturer of various standard and custom passive connectivity products to customers throughout the U.S. This stock closed up 5.8% at $17.56 in Wednesday's trading session.

Wednesday's Volume: 321,000

Three-Month Average Volume: 93,755

Volume % Change: 195%

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From a technical perspective, CLFD ripped higher here and broke out above its former 52-week high at $17.12 with strong upside volume. This stock has been uptrending strong for the last three months, with shares moving higher from its low of $10.18 to its intraday high of $17.70. During that uptrend, shares of CLFD have been consistently making higher lows and higher highs, which is bullish technical price action.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in CLFD as long as it's trending above Wednesday's low of $16.48 or above $15.50 and then once it sustains a move or close above its new 52-week high at $17.70 volume that this near or above 93,755 shares. If we get that move soon, then CLFD will set up to enter new 52-week-high territory, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that move are $23 to $25.

Anacor Pharmaceuticals

Anacor Pharmaceuticals (ANAC) is engaged in the discovery, development and commercialization of novel small molecule therapeutics derived from its novel boron chemistry platform. This stock closed up 12.9% at $14.21 in Wednesday's trading session.

Wednesday's Volume: 668,000

Three-Month Average Volume: 396,517

Volume % Change: 145%

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From a technical perspective, ANAC skyrocketed higher here right above its 50-day moving average of $11.63 and into breakout territory above some resistance at $13.32 with strong upside volume. This move is quickly pushing shares of ANAC within range of triggering another big breakout trade. That trade will ht if ANAC manages to take out Wednesday's high of $14.24 to its 52-week high at $14.39 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in ANAC as long as it's trending above $13 or $12 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 396,517 shares. If that breakout hits soon, then ANAC will set up to enter new 52-week-high territory, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that breakout are $18 to $20.

Health Management Associates

Health Management Associates (HMA) provides health care services to patients in owned and leased facilities located mainly in non-urban communities in the Southeastern and Southwestern U.S. This stock closed up 5.6% at $13.24 in Wednesday's trading session.

Wednesday's Volume: 30.33 million

Three-Month Average Volume: 3.81 million

Volume % Change: 376%

From a technical perspective, HMA gapped higher here back above both its 50-day and 200-day moving averages with monster upside volume. This move is quickly pushing shares of HMA within range of triggering a major breakout trade. That trade will hit if HMA manages to take out Wednesday's high of $13.35 to its gap down day high from late July at $13.66 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in HMA as long as it's trending above Wednesday's low at $13.09 or above its 200-day at $12.79 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that's near or above 3.81 million shares. If that breakout hits soon, then HMA will set up to re-fill some of its previous gap down zone from July that started near $17.

Red Hat

Red Hat (RHT) is a provider of open source software solutions, using a community-powered approach to develop and offer reliable and high-performing operating system, middleware, virtualization, storage and cloud technologies. This stock closed up 3.9% at $46.37 in Wednesday's trading session.

Wednesday's Volume: 5.46 million

Three-Month Average Volume: 1.85 million

Volume % Change: 225%

From a technical perspective, RHT gapped higher here back above its 50-day moving average of $46.31 with above-average volume. This move is quickly pushing shares of RHT within range of triggering a big breakout trade. That trade will hit if RHT manages to take out Wednesday's high of $46.58 to its gap down day high from September at $48, and then once it clears its 200-day moving average of $49.30 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in RHT as long as it's trending above Wednesday's low of $45.50 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that's near or above 1.85 million shares. If that breakout hits soon, then RHT will set up to re-fill some of its previous gap down zone from September that started near $54.

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.