Stock Quotes in this Article: PRSC, PTR, SPSC, TEAR

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."

>>5 Stocks Ready to Break Out

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 Stock Charts You Need to See

Providence Service

Providence Service (PRSC) provides and manages government sponsored social services and non-emergency transportation services. This stock closed up 3.3% at $29.09 on Friday.

Friday's Volume: 879,000

Average Volume: 117,023

Volume % Change: 608%

>>4 Big Stocks on Traders' Radars

From a technical perspective, PRSC spiked higher here right above some near-term support at $26 with above-average volume. This move briefly pushed shares of PRSC into breakout territory, since the stock took out its previous 52-week high at $29.40. Shares of PRSC hit an intraday high of $29.52 and volume was well above its three-month average action of 117,023 shares.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in PRSC as long as it's trending above $28, and then once it sustains a move or close above its new 52-week high at $29.52 with volume that this near or above 117,023 shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then PRSC will set up to enter new 52-week-high territory, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that breakout are $33 to $35.

TearLab

TearLab (TEAR) is an in-vitro diagnostic company that commercializes a proprietary tear-testing platform that enables eye care practitioners to test for highly sensitive and specific biomarkers using nanoliters of tear film. This stock closed up 6% to $10.62 on Friday.

Friday's Volume: 4.68 million

Average Volume: 641,412

Volume % Change: 619%

Shares of TEAR ripped higher on Friday after the stock was added to the Russell 3000 Index.

>>3 Hot Stocks to Trade (or Not)

From a technical perspective, TEAR bounced sharply higher here right above its 50-day moving average at $9.70 with heavy upside volume. This stock has been downtrending for the last month, with shares moving lower from its high of $12.97 to its recent low of $9.65. During that move, shares of TEAR have been mostly making lower highs and lower lows, which is bearish technical price action. That said, shares of TEAR might be ready to reverse its recent downtrend and trigger a near-term breakout trade. That trade will hit if TEAR manages to take out some near-term overhead resistance levels at $11 to $12 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in TEAR as long as it's trending above its 50-day at $9.70, and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 641,412 shares. If that breakout hits soon, then TEAR will set up to re-test or possibly take out its 52-week high at $12.97.

SPS Commerce

SPS Commerce (SPSC) is a provider of on-demand supply chain management solutions, providing integration, collaboration, connectivity, visibility and data analytics to thousands of customers globally. This stock closed up 1% at $55 on Friday.

Friday's Volume: 576,000

Average Volume: 83,031

Volume % Change: 579%

>>5 Stocks Under $10 Set to Soar

From a technical perspective, SPSC bounced modestly higher here right above some near-term support at $54 with above-average volume. This move is quickly pushing shares of SPSC within range of triggering a near-term breakout trade. That trade will hit if SPSC manages to take out some near-term overhead resistance levels at Friday's intraday high of $56.48 to its 52-week high at $57.34 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in SPSC as long as it's trending above $54 or above $52, and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that's near or above 83,031 shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then SPSC will set up to enter new 52-week-high territory above $57.34, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that breakout are $60 to $63.

PetroChina

PetroChina (PTR) is involved the exploration, development, production and sale of crude oil and natural gas. This stock closed up 6.8% to $110.67 on Friday.

Friday's Volume: 1.06 million

Average Volume: 132,881

Volume % Change: 831%

>>5 Stocks With Big Insider Buying

From a technical perspective, PTR ripped sharply higher here with monster upside volume. This stock had been downtrending badly for the last two months, with shares dropping from its high of $130.15 to its recent low of $99.28. During that move, shares of PTR have been consistently making lower highs and lower lows, which is bearish technical price action. That said, shares of PTR might be ready to reverse that downtrend since its downside volatility stopped on Friday and the stock flirted with a near-term breakout.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in PTR as long as it's trending above Friday's low of $107.21, and then once it sustains a move or close above Friday's high of $111.15 with volume that hits near or above 132,881 shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then PTR will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at its 50-day moving average of $117.95 to $120.

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:

>>4 Red-Flag Stocks to Sell This Summer
>>5 Short-Squeeze Stocks Primed to Pop

>>4 Tech Stocks Under $10 to Watch

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.