Stock Quotes in this Article: BRLI, NFG, XTEX, HTSI

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.”

>>5 Stocks Set to Soar on Bullish Earnings

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 Rocket Stocks to Buy for a 1Q Rally

Harris Teeter Supermarkets

Regional supermarket chain operator Harris Teeter Supermarkets (HTSI) is trading up 6.2% at $39.24 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 481,000

Average Volume: 197,785

Volume % Change: 352%

From a technical perspective, HTSI is soaring here right off its 50-day moving average of $37.60 and back above its 200-day moving average of $38.69 with above-average volume. This move is quickly pushing shares of HTSI within range of triggering a near-term breakout trade. That trade will hit if HTSI takes out some near-term overhead resistance at $39.91 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in HTSI as long as it’s trending above its 200-day at $38.69, and then once it sustains a move or close above $39.91 with volume that hits near or above 197,785 shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then HTSI will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $41.46 to $41.57. Any high-volume move above those levels will then put $43 into range for shares of HTSI.

National Fuel Gas Company

Diversified energy company National Fuel Gas Company (NFG) is trading up 5% at $53.79 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 700,000

Average Volume: 342,962

Volume % Change: 263%

Shares of NFG are ripping higher today after the company announced significant Marcellus Shale wells results.

From a technical perspective, NFG is gapping higher here back above its 50-day moving average of $51.30 with heavy upside volume. This move has started to push NFG into breakout territory, since the stock has cleared some near-term overhead resistance at $53.60. Shares of NFG are now moving within range of triggering another breakout trade. That trade will hit if NFG manages to take out some near-term overhead resistance at $55.28 and then its 52-week high of $55.66 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in NFG as long as it’s trending above its first breakout level of $53.60, and then once it sustains a move or close above those second tier breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 342,962 shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then NFG will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $58.53 to $62.47.

Bio-Reference Labs

Bio-Reference Labs (BRLI) is engaged in offering testing, information and related services to physician offices, clinics, hospitals, employers and governmental units. This stock is trading up 3.7% at $31.02 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 356,000

Average Volume: 319,739

Volume % Change: 112%

From a technical perspective, BRLI is ripping higher here and breaking out above some near-term overhead resistance at $29.97 with above-average volume. This move is quickly pushing shares of BRLI within range of triggering another major breakout trade. That trade will hit if BRLI manages to clear some near-term overhead resistance levels at $32 to $32.86 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in BRLI as long as it’s trending above $30, and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 319,739 shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then BRLI will set up to enter new 52-week-high territory, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that breakout are $35 to $37.

Crosstex Energy

Crosstex Energy (XTEX) is a midstream energy company, which is engaged in the gathering, transmission, treating, processing and marketing of natural gas and natural gas liquids, and providing terminal services for crude oil. This stock is trading up 3.6% at $16.51 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 1.33 million

Average Volume: 560,673

Volume % Change: 328%

From a technical perspective, XTEX is gapping higher here and into breakout territory above some near-term overhead resistance levels at $16 to $16.20 with heavy upside volume. This move is quickly pushing shares of XTEX within range of triggering another major breakout trade. That trade will hit if XTEX manages to take out some more overhead resistance levels at $16.93 to $17.21 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in XTEX as long as it’s trending above its first tier breakout levels $16 to $16.20, and then once it sustains a move or close above its second tier breakout levels at $16.93 to $17.21 with volume that hits near or above 560,673 shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then XTEX will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance level at $17.81.

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.


RELATED LINKS:







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 Windermere, Fla., 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.