Stock Quotes in this Article: AMRI, ESI, ICLR, MLNX

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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Mellanox Technologies

Mellanox Technologies (MLNX) produces and supplies semiconductor interconnect products that facilitate efficient data transmission between servers, storage systems and communications infrastructure equipment and other embedded systems. This stock closed up 1.4% at $47.80 on Wednesday.

Wednesday's Volume: 1.66 million

Average Volume: 714,189

Volume % Change: 171%

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From a technical perspective, MLNX bounced notably higher here right above some near-term support at $45.47 with above-average volume. This stock has been downtrending badly for the last month, with shares falling from its high of $58.98 to its recent low of $45.47. During that move, shares of MLNX have been mostly making lower highs and lower lows, which is bearish technical price action.

That said, shares of MLNX have now moved into oversold levels since its current relative strength index reading is 34. Oversold can always get more oversold, but it's also an area where a stock can experience a powerful bounce higher from.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in MLNX as long as it's trending above some key near-term support levels at $46 or $45.47 and then once it sustains a move or close above Wednesday's high of $50.98 to some more near-term resistance at $52 with volume that hits near or above 714,189 shares. If we get that move soon, then MLNX will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at its 50-day moving average of $54.73 to $56.39. Any high-volume move above those levels will then put its next major overhead resistance level at $59 into range for shares of MLNX.

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Icon (ICLR) provides outsourced development services on a global basis to the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical device industries. This stock closed up 1.1% at $34.96 on Wednesday.

Wednesday's Volume: 599,000

Average Volume: 344,184

Volume % Change: 72%

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From a technical perspective, ICLR trended higher here right above some near-term support at $34 to $33.44 with above-average volume. This move is quickly pushing shares of ICLR within range of triggering a major breakout trade. That trade will hit if ICLR manages to take out some near-term overhead resistance levels at $35.57 to its 52-week high at $35.86 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in ICLR as long as it's trending above some near-term support levels at $34 or above $33.44 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 344,184 shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then ICLR 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 $45.

Albany Molecular Research

Albany Molecular Research (AMRI) is a contract research and manufacturing organization providing customers drug discovery, development and manufacturing services. This stock closed up 9.4% at $11.87 on Wednesday.

Wednesday's Volume: 1.03 million

Average Volume: 468,411

Volume % Change: 134%

Shares of AMRI ripped higher on Wednesday after Sterne Agee re-initiated the stock with a buy rating and $15 price target.

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From a technical perspective, AMRI skyrocketed higher here right above its 50-day moving average at $10.64 with heavy upside volume. This move has pushed shares of AMRI into breakout territory, since the stock took out some near-term overhead resistance levels at $11.47 to $11.86. Shares of AMRI are now quickly moving within range of triggering an even bigger breakout trade. That trade will hit if AMRI manages to take out Wednesday's high at $12.14 and then once it clears its 52-week high at $12.50 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in AMRI as long as it's trending above either of those first tier breakout levels at $11.86 or $11.47 and then once it sustains a move or close above $12.14 to $12.50 with volume that hits near or above 468,411 shares. If that breakout hits soon, then AMRI will set up to enter new 52-week-high territory above $12.50, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that breakout are $15 to $17.

ITT Educational Services

ITT Educational Services (ESI) offers postsecondary degree programs in the U.S. It offers diploma, associate, bachelor and master degree programs. This stock closed up 1.6% at $27.66 on Wednesday.

Wednesday's Volume: 1.28 million

Average Volume: 722,469

Volume % Change: 74%

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From a technical perspective, ESI trended higher here and re-tested some near-term overhead resistance levels at $28.17 to $28.37 with above-average volume. At last check, ESI hit an intraday high of $28.52, and volume was well above its three-month average action of 722,469 shares. Shares of ESI could now be ready to trigger a major breakout trade if it can manage to take out Wednesday's high of $28.52 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in ESI as long as it's trending above Wednesday's low of $27.35 or above some more near-term support at $26.40, and then once it sustains a move or close above $28.52 with volume that hits near or above 722,469 shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then ESI will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $32 to $35. Any high-volume move above those levels will then put its next major overhead resistance levels at $40 into range for shares of ESI.

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.