Stock Quotes in this Article: PAG, EGRX, ALDR, VSAR

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 recently.

Versartis

Versartis (VSAR), a development stage biopharmaceutical company, focuses on developing therapeutic proteins for the treatment of metabolic diseases and endocrine disorders in the U.S. This stock closed up 2.1% to $28.56 in Friday's trading session.

Friday's Volume: 1. 09 million

Three-Month Average Volume: 151,678

Volume % Change: 844%

From a technical perspective, VSAR spiked modestly higher here right above some near-term support at $25.10 with monster upside volume. This move pushed shares of VSAR right into its 50-day moving average of $29.08, before the stock closed just below that level at $28.56. Market players should now look for a continuation move to the upside in the short-term if VSAR manages to take out its 50-day moving average of $29.08 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in VSAR as long as it's trending above Friday's low of $27.12 or above more near-term support at $25.10 and then once it sustains a move or close above its 50-day at $29.08 with volume that hits near or above 151,678 shares. If that move starts soon, then VSAR will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $31 to $32, or even $34 to its all-time high at $36.86.

Alder Biopharmaceuticals

Alder Biopharmaceuticals (ALDR), a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company, discovers, develops and commercializes various therapeutic antibodies in the U.S. and Australia. This stock closed up 4% at $18.71 in Friday's trading session.

Friday's Volume: 1.15 million

Three-Month Average Volume: 238,442

Volume % Change: 1293%

From a technical perspective, ALDR ripped higher here right above some near-term support at $16.76 with monster upside volume. This sharp spike higher on Friday is quickly pushing shares of ALDR within range of triggering a near-term breakout trade. That trade will hit if ALDR manages to take out some key near-term overhead resistance levels at $19.50 to just above $20 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in ALDR as long as it's trending above support at $16.76 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 238,442 shares. If that breakout gets underway soon, then ALDR will set up to re-test or possibly take out its all-time high at $22.95. Any high-volume move above that level will then give ALDR a chance to tag $25 to $30.

Penske Automotive Group

Penske Automotive Group (PAG) operates as an automotive retailer. This stock closed up 3.4% at $48.79 in Friday's trading session.

Friday's Volume: 3.63 million

Three-Month Average Volume: 397,125

Volume % Change: 1084%

From a technical perspective, PAG spiked notably higher here right above its 50-day moving average of $46.13 with strong upside volume. This stock has been uptrending for the last five months, with shares moving higher from its low of $39.44 to its recent high of $49.13. During that uptrend, shares of PAG have been making mostly higher lows and higher highs, which is bullish technical price action. This spike higher on Friday is starting to push shares of PAG within range of triggering a big breakout trade. That trade will hit if PAG manages to take out some key near-term overhead resistance levels at $48.89 to its 52-week high of $49.13 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in PAG as long as it's trending above its 50-day at $46.13 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that's near or above 397,125 shares. If that breakout gets set off soon, then PAG will set up to enter new 52-week-high territory, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that breakout are $55 to $60.

Eagle Pharmaceuticals

Eagle Pharmaceuticals (EGRX), a specialty pharmaceutical company, focuses on developing and commercializing injectable products primarily in the critical care and oncology areas in the U.S. This stock closed up 3.8% at $13.57 in Friday's trading session.

Friday's Volume: 491,000

Three-Month Average Volume: 84,561

Volume % Change: 662%

From a technical perspective, EGRX ripped higher here right above some near-term support levels at $12.50 to $12 with heavy upside volume. This spike higher on Friday pushed shares of EGRX into breakout territory, since the stock cleared some past overhead resistance at $13.36. Market players should now look for a continuation move to the upside in the short-term if EGRX manages to take out Friday's intraday high of $13.57 with strong upside volume flows.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in EGRX as long as it's trending above support at $12.50 or at $12 and then once it sustains a move or close above Friday's high of $13.57 with volume that's near or above 84,561 shares. If that move materializes soon, then EGRX will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $15.48 to its all-time high at $16.44. Any high-volume move above $16.44 will then give EGRX a chance to tag $20.

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.