Stock Quotes in this Article: KMX, PANL, PETM, QCOR

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.

CarMax

CarMax (KMX), through its subsidiaries, operates as a retailer of used vehicles in the U.S. This stock is trading up 9% at $31.86 in recent trading.
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Today’s Volume: 6.04 million

Average Volume: 1.81 million

Volume % Change: 486%

Shares of KMX are soaring today after ITG Research said its retail revenue growth is tracking up 16.7% year-over-year vs. 13.3% and that same-store used unit retail sales are likely ahead of Street estimates.

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From a technical perspective, KMX bounced right off its 50-day and 200-day moving averages with monster volume. This move is quickly pushing KMX within range of triggering a near-term breakout trade. That trade will hit once KMX manages to clear some near-term overhead resistance at $33.38 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades once KMX sustains a move or close above $33.38 with volume that hits near or above 1.81 million shares. If we get that action soon, then look for KMX to re-test and possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $35.17 to $37.02.

PetSmart

PetSmart (PETM) is a specialty provider of products, services and solutions for the lifetime needs of pets. This stock is trading up 2.4% at $70.06 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 1.2 million

Average Volume: 1.21 million

Volume % Change: 61%

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From a technical perspective, PETM is ripping here back above its 50-day moving average of $69.15 with decent volume. This move is quickly pushing PETM within range of triggering a major breakout trade. That trade will hit once PETM manages to take out some near-term overhead resistance at $72.75 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in PETM as long as it’s trending above its 50-day at $69.15, and then once it sustains a move or close above $72.75 with volume that’s near or above 1.21 million shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then PETM will push into new 52-week high territory, which is bullish technical price action. Traders can target a run above $75 if PETM breaks out soon with volume.

Universal Display

Universal Display (PANL) is engaged in the research, development and commercialization of organic light emitting diode technologies and materials. This stock is trading up 1.6% at $34.52 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 788,000

Average Volume: 870,232

Volume % Change: 50%

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From a technical perspective, PANL is bouncing modestly higher here right near some previous support at $32.88 with decent volume. This move is quickly pushing PANL within range of triggering a near-term breakout trade. That trade will hit once PANL manages to take out some near-term overhead resistance at $35.28 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in PANL once it manages to sustain a move or close above $35.28 with volume that hits near or above 870,232 shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then look for PANL to re-test or possibly take out its 200-day at $37.39 and its 50-day at $38.38. Keep in mind that PANL has the potential for a large bounce if it breaks out soon, since this stock is coming off of oversold territory. Its current RSI reading is 34, which indicates an oversold condition.

Questcor Pharmaceuticals

Questcor Pharmaceuticals (QCOR) is a biopharmaceutical company, provides prescription drugs for the treatment of multiple sclerosis, nephrotic syndrome and infantile spasms indications. This stock is trading up 7% at $20.62 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 4.6 million

Average Volume: 5.4 million

Volume % Change: 50%

From a technical perspective, QCOR is bouncing sharply higher here with decent volume, and it’s started to move into breakout territory above some near-term overhead resistance at $20.40. Traders should now look for QCOR to trigger its next major breakout trade. That trade will hit once QCOR manages to take out its gap down day high from two weeks ago at $22.75 with high volume.

Traders should look for long-biased trades in QCOR as long as it’s trending above $20.40, and then once it sustains a move or close above $22.75 with volume that hits near or above 5,371,110 shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then QCOR will have an excellent chance to re-fill some of its gap and possibly hit $30 to $33 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 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 stocks, options, futures, commodities and currencies. He is also an outside contributor to Beconequity.com and maintains the website Maddmoney.net, which he sold to Blue Wave Advisors in 2008. Roberto studied International Business at The Milwaukee School of Engineering, and he spent a year overseas studying business in Lubeck, Germany.