Stock Quotes in this Article: ACTG, APO, BKS, ENDP

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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Apollo Global Management

Apollo Global Management (APO), a global alternative asset manager, is trading up 3.2% at $22.57 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 693,000

Average Volume: 518,044

Volume % Change: 144%

From a technical perspective, APO is ripping higher here right above some near-term support at $21 with above-average volume. This stock has been uptrending strong for the last four months, with shares soaring higher from its low of $12.82 to its recent high of $23.85. During that trend, shares of APO have been consistently making higher lows and higher highs, which is bullish technical price action. That move has now pushed shares of APO within range of triggering a breakout trade. That trade will hit if APO manages to take out its 52-week high of $23.85 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in APO as long as it’s trending above near-term support at $21, and then once it sustains a move or close above $23.85 with volume that hits near or above 518,044 shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then APO will set up to enter new 52-week high territory, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that breakout are $25 to $28.

Acacia Research

Acacia Research (ACTG), through its operating subsidiaries acquires, develops, licenses and enforces patented technologies. This stock is trading up 4% at $30.37 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 959,000

Average Volume: 503,313

Volume % Change: 182%

From a technical perspective, ACTG is bouncing higher here right above its 200-day moving average of $28.49 with above-average volume. This move is quickly pushing shares of ACTG within range of triggering a near-term breakout trade. That trade will hit if ACTG manages to clear some near-term overhead resistance at $32.59 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in ACTG as long as it’s trending above today’s low of $29.45, and then once it sustains a move or close above $32.59 with volume that hits near or above 503,313 shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then ACTG will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance level at around $40.

Barnes & Noble

Barnes & Noble (BKS) is engaged in sale of trade books, mass market paperbacks, children's books, bargain books, magazines, gift, music and movies direct to customers. This stock is trading up 9.9% at $14.85 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 4.97 million

Average Volume: 1.46 million

Volume % Change: 440%

Shares of BKS are soaring higher today after the company said it received a proposal from founder, largest shareholder and board chairman Leonard Riggio to buy its retail business and that it is evaluating the plan.

From a technical perspective, BKS is gapping sharply higher here back above both its 50-day moving average at $13.96 and its 200-day moving average at $14.49 with heavy upside volume. This move has also pushed shares of BKS into breakout territory, since the stock has taken out some near-term overhead resistance at $14.74. At last check, BKS has hit an intraday high of $15.50 and volume is well above its three-month average action of 1.46 million shares.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in BKS as long as it’s trending above its 200-day at $14.49 or that breakout level at $14.74, and then once it sustains a move or close above its next major breakout levels at $15.50 to $16 with volume that hits near or above 1.46 million shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then BKS will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance level at $17.27 to $17.68. Any high-volume move above those levels will then put $19 to $19.50 into range for shares of BKS.

Endo Health Solutions

Endo Health Solutions (ENDP) is a specialty pharmaceutical company engaged in the research, development, sale and marketing of branded and generic prescription pharmaceuticals used to treat and manage pain. This stock is trading up 8.4% at $30.40 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 8.14 million

Average Volume: 2.33 million

Volume % Change: 370%

Shares of ENDP are skyrocketing higher today after Wells Fargo said it believes the appointment of new CEO Rajiv De Silva suggests the company does not intend to sell itself in the near-term, contrary to a Reuters report in January. Wells Fargo has a market perform rating on the stock.

From a technical perspective, ENDP is bouncing strongly here off its 50-day moving average of $27.75 and its moving back above its 200-day moving average of $29.93 with massive upside volume. This move has broken the downtrend shares of ENDP have been in during the last month, since shares dropped from its recent high of $33.32 to its low of $27.70. During that move, shares of ENDP were consistently making lower highs and lower lows, which is bearish technical price action.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in ENDP as long as it’s trending above its 200-day at $29.93, and then once it sustains a move or close above its next major breakout levels at $33.32 to $33.86 with volume that hits near or above 2.33 million shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then ENDP will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $35.60 to $36.30.

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.