Stock Quotes in this Article: BRCM, MATW, MKTX, MTH

MADISON, 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.

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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Meritage Homes

Meritage Homes (MTH) is a designer and builder of single-family attached and detached homes in the historically high-growth regions of the southern and western U.S., based on the number of home closings. This stock is trading up 5.2% at $47.46 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 883,000

Average Volume: 614,902

Volume % Change: 214%

Shares of MTH are ripping higher here after the company delivered a better-than-expected profit and beat Wall Street’s revenue expectation.

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From a technical perspective, MTH is trending higher here right above its previous close at $45.09 with above-average volume. This stock has been uptrending strong for the last few weeks, with shares soaring higher from its low of $39.02 to its intraday high of $47.84. During that move, shares of MTH have been consistently making higher lows and higher highs, which is bullish technical price action. That move is quickly pushing shares of MTH within range of triggering a near-term breakout trade. That trade will hit if MTH manages to take out its 52-week high at $48.62 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in MTH as long as it’s trending above today’s low at $45.36 or above Tuesday’s close at $45.09 and then once it sustains a move or close above its 52-weeek high at $48.62 with volume that hits near or above 614,902 shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then MTH will set up to enter new 52-week-high territory, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that move are $50 to $53.

Matthews International

Matthews International (MATW) is a designer, manufacturer and marketer principally of memorialization products and brand solutions. This stock is trading up 1% at $34.61 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 126,000

Average Volume: 94,276

Volume % Change: 154%

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From a technical perspective, MATW is trending higher here right above its 50-day moving average at $33.87 with above-average volume. This move is quickly pushing shares of MATW within range of triggering a near-term breakout trade. That trade will hit if MATW manages to take out some near-term overhead resistance levels at $34.99 to $35.31 with high volume. At last check, MATW has hit an intraday high of $35.10, and volume has surpassed its three-month average action of 94,276 shares.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in MATW as long as it’s trending above its 50-day at $33.87 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 94,276 shares. If that breakout hits soon, then MATW will set up to enter new 52-week-high territory above $35.31, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that breakout are $37 to $38.

Broadcom

Broadcom (BRCM) is a technology innovator and provider of semiconductors for wired and wireless communications. This stock is trading up 6.6% at $35.17 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 8.84 million

Average Volume: 7.49 million

Volume % Change: 147%

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Shares of BRCM are soaring higher today after RW Baird said the company reported significant first-quarter growth, but it does not believe it is fully reflected in its valuation. The firm expects growth to continue driven by a looming set top box upgrade cycle, a new product cycle in 3G, and its leadership in connectivity market shares. RW Baird has an outperform rating on the stock and it raised its price target to $40 from $38.

From a technical perspective, BRCM is gapping sharply higher here back above both its 200-day at $33.48 and its 50-day at $33.97 with above-average volume. This move is quickly pushing shares of BRCM within range of triggering a major breakout trade. That trade will hit if BRCM manages to take out some near-term overhead resistance levels at $35.32 to $35.38 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in BRCM as long as it’s trending above today’s low of $34.43, and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 7.49 million shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then BRCM will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $36.76 to $39.17.

MarketAxess

MarketAxess (MKTX) operates an electronic trading platform for corporate bonds and certain other types of fixed-income instruments. This stock is trading up 3.8% at $41.51 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 407,000

Average Volume: 317,792

Volume % Change: 104%

Shares of MKTX are trending higher here after the company said it beat first-quarter earnings estimates by 4 cents per share, after reporting EPS of 41 cents per share, and revenues rose 9.7% to $55.6 million, vs. the consensus estimate of $54.64 million.

From a technical perspective, MKTX is gapping higher here right above $40 with above-average volume. This move has briefly pushed shares of MKTX into breakout territory, since the stock has flirted with some near-term overhead resistance at $41.60. At last check, MKTX has hit an intraday high of $42.13 and volume is well above its three-month average action of 317,792 shares. Shares of MKTX are now starting to move within range of triggering another major breakout trade. That trade will hit if MKTX manages to take out some near-term overhead resistance levels at $42.50 to $42.61 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in MKTX as long as it’s trending above today’s low of $40.70 and then once it sustains a move or close above $42.13 and then above those breakout levels at $42.50 to $42.61 with volume that hits near or above 913,205 shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then MKTX will set up to enter new 52-week-high territory above $42.76, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that breakout are $45 to $50 in the near future.

To see more stocks rising on unusual volume, check out the Stocks Rising on Unusual Volume portfolio on Stockpickr.

-- Written by Roberto Pedone in Madison, Wis.

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At the time of publication, author had no positions in stocks mentioned.

Roberto Pedone, based out of Madison, 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.