Stock Quotes in this Article: FONR, PMC, GNC, ICPT

DELAFIELD, 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.

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Major moves in volume can signal unusual activity, such as insider buying or selling -- or buying or selling by "superinvestors."

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.

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With that in mind, let's take a look at several stocks rising on unusual volume today.

PharMerica

PharMerica (PMC) is an institutional pharmacy services company that services health care facilities and provides management pharmacy services to hospitals. This stock closed up 2% at $14.98 in Wednesday's trading session.

Wednesday's Volume: 547,000

Three-Month Average Volume: 218,469

Volume % Change: 125%

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From a technical perspective, PMC spiked higher here and broke out above some near-term overhead resistance at $14.71 with solid upside volume. This stock has been uptrending strong for the last two months, with shares moving higher from its low of $11.84 to its intraday high of $15.14. During that move, shares of PMC have been consistently making higher lows and higher highs, which is bullish technical price action.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in PMC as long as it's trending above its 200-day at $14.06 and then once it sustains a move or close above Wednesday's high of $15.14 with volume that this near or above 218,469 shares. If we get that move soon, then PMC will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $15.80 to its 52-week high at $16.45.

GNC

GNC (GNC) is a global specialty retailer of health and wellness products, including VMHS products, sports nutrition products, and diet products. This stock closed up 1.8% at $57.14 in Wednesday's trading session.

Wednesday's Volume: 2.13 million

Three-Month Average Volume: 1.06 million

Volume % Change: 131%

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From a technical perspective, GNC spiked modestly higher here right off some near-term support at $55 with strong upside volume. This move pushed shares of GNC into new all-time high territory, which is bullish technical price action. Once a stock prints a new all-time high, that means that there is no resistance above and just about everyone who has ever bought it is making money.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in GNC as long as it's trending above $55, and then once it sustains a move or close above its new all-time high at $57.39 with volume that's near or above 1.06 million shares. If we get that move soon, then GNC will set up to enter new all-time high territory, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that move are $60 to $65.

Fonar

Fonar (FONR) is engaged in the research, development, production and marketing of medical scanning equipment, which uses principles of MRI for the detection and diagnosis of human diseases. This stock closed up 7.3% at $10.09 in Wednesday's trading session.

Wednesday's Volume: 241,000

Three-Month Average Volume: 73,635

Volume % Change: 175%

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From a technical perspective, FONR ripped sharply higher here right above some near-term support at $9 with strong upside volume. This move pushed shares of FONR into breakout and new 52-week-high territory, since the stock took out some past overhead resistance at $9.78.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in FONR as long as it's trending above Wednesday's low of $9.32 or above $9 and then once it sustains a move or close above Wednesday's high of $10.22 with volume that's near or above 73,635 shares. If we get that move soon, then FONR will set up to enter new 52-week-high territory, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that move are $13 to $15.

Intercept Pharmaceuticals

Intercept Pharmaceuticals (ICPT) is a development-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on the development and commercialization of novel therapeutics to treat chronic liver disease utilizing its proprietary bile acid chemistry. This stock closed up 4.1% at $54.96 in Wednesday's trading session.

Wednesday's Volume: 307,000

Three-Month Average Volume: 130,674

Volume % Change: 145%

From a technical perspective, ICPT bounced sharply higher here right off some past support at $50 with above-average volume. This stock has been downtrending badly for the last month, with shares falling from its high of $77.53 to its intraday low of $50.11. During that downtrend, shares of ICPT have been consistently making lower highs and lower lows, which is bearish technical price action. That said, the downside volatility for shares of ICPT could be over in the short-term, and the stock might be ready for a decent bounce higher.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in ICPT as long as it's trending above Wednesday's low of $50.11 and then once it sustains a move or close above Wednesday's high of $55.59 with volume that's near or above 130,674 shares. If we get that move soon, then ICPT will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $60 to $62.15.

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

-- Written by Roberto Pedone in Delafield, Wis.


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

Roberto Pedone, based out of Delafield, 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.