Stock Quotes in this Article: GHDX, HOT, PANW, TRLA

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.”

>>5 Stocks With Major Insider Buying

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.

>>5 Stocks Ready to BreakOut

Trulia

Trulia (TRLA), which operates as a real estate search engine, closed up 4.7% at $32.01 on Wednesday.

Wednesday's Volume: 957,000

Average Volume: 426,505

Volume % Change: 163%

From a technical perspective, TRLA bounced higher here right above some near-term support at $29.67 with above-average volume. This stock has been uptrending strong for the last month, with shares moving higher from its low of $23.08 to its recent high of $32.40. During that move, shares of TRLA have been consistently making higher lows and higher highs, which is bullish technical price action. That move has now pushed shares of TRLA within range of triggering a near-term breakout trade. That trade will hit if TRLA manages to take out some near-term overhead resistance at $32.40 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in TRLA as long as it’s trending above some near-term support at $29.67 or $28.83 and then once it sustains a move or close above $32.40 with volume that hits near or above 426,505 shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then TRLA will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $34 to its 52-week high at $38.22.

Genomic Health

Genomic Health (GHDX) develops and commercializes genomic-based clinical laboratory services that analyze the underlying biology of cancer allowing physicians and patients to make individualized treatment decisions. This stock closed up 5.6% at $28.23 on Wednesday.

Wednesday's Volume: 367,000

Average Volume: 206,351

Volume % Change: 66%

From a technical perspective, GHDX gapped up strong right above some near-term support at $26.25 with above-average volume. This move briefly spiked GHDX back above its 50-day moving average of $28.56, before the stock pulled back and closed at $28.23. This move is quickly pushing shares of GHDX within range of triggering a near-term breakout trade. That trade will hit if GHDX manages to clear some near-term overhead resistance levels at $29.27 to $29.54 and then once it takes out more resistance at $30.18 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in GHDX as long as it’s trending above its 50-day at $28.56 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 206,351 shares. If that breakout happens soon, then GHDX will set up to re-fill some of its previous gap down zone from last November that started near $33.

Palo Alto Networks

Palo Alto Networks (PANW) is engaged in providing network security with its innovative platform that allows enterprises, service providers and government entities to secure their networks and safely enable the applications running on their networks. This stock closed up 4.7% at $56.52 on Wednesday.

Wednesday's Volume: 1.91 million

Average Volume: 1.02 million

Volume % Change: 111%

Shares of PANW trended up on Wednesday after Needham initiated coverage on the stock with a buy rating and a $70 price target. The firm said PANW is an attractive investment because it nearly creates budget IT dollars in a continued tight spending environment, due to the value business-side executives place on PANW’s next gen firewall capabilities.

From a technical perspective, PANW ripped higher here back above its 50-day moving average of $55.77 with heavy upside volume. This move is quickly pushing shares of PANW within range of triggering a near-term breakout trade. That trade will hit if PANW manages to take out some near-term overhead resistance levels at $57.20 to $57.36 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in PANW as long as it’s trending above its 50-day at $55.77 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 1.02 million shares. If that breakout hits soon, then PANW will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $62.19 to $67.

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide (HOT) operates hotel and leisure business both directly and through its subsidiaries. Its brand names include St. Regis, The Luxury Collection, W, Westin and Le Meridien This stock closed up 2.5% at $62.49 on Wednesday.

Wednesady's Volume: 3.49 million

Average Volume: 1.77 million

Volume % Change: 81%

Shares of HOT moved higher on Wednesday after the company said it plans to spend $200 million over the next three years to renovate 13 of its Le Meridien hotels in the Middle East and Africa.

From a technical perspective, HOT spiked higher here and pushed back above its 50-day moving average of $61.25 with above-average volume. This move is quickly pushing shares of HOT within range of triggering a major breakout trade. That trade will hit if HOT manages to clear some near-term overhead resistance levels at $63 to its 52-week high at $63.53 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in HOT as long as it’s trending above its 50-day at $61.25 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 1.77 million shares. If that breakout happens soon, then HOT will set up to enter new 52-week-high territory above $63.53, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that breakout are $65 to $70.

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.