Stock Quotes in this Article: CTRN, FLO, SPRD, SHOS

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."

>>Warren Buffett's 5 Favorite Stocks for 2013

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 Trades to Take as Stocks Soar in May

Flowers Foods

Flowers Foods (FLO) is a producer and marketer of packaged bakery foods for retail and foodservice customers. This stock closed up 4.3% at $34.63 on Wednesday.

Wednesday's Volume: 1.90 million

Average Volume: 701,430

Volume % Change: 144%

>>5 Rocket Stocks Ready for Blastoff

From a technical perspective, FLO ripped higher here right off some near-term support at $32.97 with above-average volume. This stock has been uptrending strong for the last five months, with shares soaring higher from its low of $22.64 to its recent high of $36.25. During that uptrend, shares of FLO have been consistently making higher lows and higher highs, which is bullish technical price action. That move has now pushed shares of FLO within range of triggering a near-term breakout trade. That trade will hit if FLO manages to take out its 52-week high at $36.25 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in FLO as long as it's trending above $32.97 or above $32 and then once it sustains a move or close above Wednesday's high of $34.60 and its 52-week high at $36.25 with volume that hits near or above 701,430 shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then FLO will set up to enter new 52-week-high territory, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that breakout are $40 to $43.

Sears Hometown & Outlet Stores

Sears Hometown & Outlet Stores (SHOS) is a national retailer primarily focused on selling home appliances, hardware, tools and lawn and garden equipment. This stock closed up 2.2% to $47.16 on Wednesday.

Wednesday's Volume: 176,000

Average Volume: 77,460

Volume % Change: 120%

>>5 Stocks Setting Up to Break Out

From a technical perspective, SHOS bounced higher here right above some near-term support at $44 with above-average volume. This move sent shares of SHOS into breakout territory, since the stock took out some key overhead resistance levels at $46.50 to $46.75. This action also pushed SHOS into all-time-high territory, which is bullish technical price action.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in SHOS as long as it's trending above $46, and then once it sustains a move or close above its all-time high at $47.50 with volume that hits near or above 77,460 shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then SHOS will set up to enter new all-time high territory, which is bullish price action. Some possible upside targets off that move are $50 to $55.

Spreadtrum Communications

Spreadtrum Communications (SPRD) is a fabless semiconductor company that designs, develops and markets baseband processor solutions for the wireless communications market. This stock closed up 4.8% at $18.68 on Wednesday.

Wednesday's Volume: 2.90 million

Average Volume: 1.02 million

Volume % Change: 172%

>>5 Trades to Take as Stocks Soar in May

From a technical perspective, SPRD bounced higher here right above some near-term support at $17.58 with above-average volume. This move briefly pushed shares of SPRD back above its 200-day moving average at $18.76, but the stock closed just below that level at $18.68. This stock has been downtrending badly for the last month and change, since shares have dropped from $22.40 to its recent low of $17.58. During that move, shares of SPRD have been consistently making lower highs and lower lows, which is bearish technical price action. That said, shares of SPRD now look ready to break out of that downtrend and potentially head higher.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in SPRD as long as it's trending above some key near-term support at $17.58 and then once it sustains a move or close above its 200-day at $18.76 and its 50-day at $20.13 with volume that hits near or above 1.02 shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then SPRD will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $21 to $22.

Citi Trends

Citi Trends (CTRN) is a value-priced retailer of urban fashion apparel and accessories for the entire family. This stock closed up 5.3% to $13.08 on Wednesday.

Wednesday's Volume: 172,000

Average Volume: 62,013

Volume % Change: 149%

From a technical perspective, CTRN exploded higher here right above its 200-day moving average at $12.12 with above-average volume. Shares of CTRN closed back above one key breakout level at $12.74, but below another at $13.49. This move now has CTRN trending within range of triggering a near-term breakout trade. That trade will hit if CTRN manages to take out Wednesday's high at $13.69 and then once it clears more resistance at $14.61 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in CTRN as long as it's trending above $12.74 or its 200-day at $12.12 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 62,013 shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then CTRN will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $15.50 to $16.40.

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.

RELATED LINKS:

>>5 Stocks With Big Insider Buying
>>4 Stocks Under $10 Spiking Higher

>>How to Use a Stock Screener to Scan for Hot Stocks

Follow Stockpickr on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.

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.