Stock Quotes in this Article: JCP, LINE, WMT, LOCK

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.”

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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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LifeLock

LifeLock (LOCK) is a provider of proactive identity theft protection services for consumers and identity risk assessment and fraud protection services for enterprises. This stock is trading up 4.8% at $10.80 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 623,000

Average Volume: 193,021

Volume % Change: 453%

Shares of LOCK are trending higher here after the company reported record quarterly revenue of $78.8 million, up 49% year over year, and fourth-quarter cumulative ending memberships of around 2.5 million, up 20% year over year.

From a technical perspective, LOCK is ripping higher here right above some near-term support at $10 with heavy upside volume. This move has pushed shares of LOCK into all-time high territory, which is bullish technical price action.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in LOCK as long as it’s trending above some key near-term support levels at $10.50 to $10 with strong upside volume flows. I would consider any upside volume day that registers near or above its three-month average action of 193,021 shares as bullish. If LOCK can maintain that trend, then this stock will set up to take out its all-time high at $11.31. Some possible upside targets if $11.31 is taken out are $12 to $13 in the near future.

J.C. Penney

Department store operator J.C. Penney (JCP) is trading up 5.9% at $21.40 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 11.5 million

Average Volume: 9.03 million

Volume % Change: 110%

From a technical perspective, JCP is ripping higher here right off its 50-day moving average of $19.63 with above-average volume. This move has started to push shares of JCP into breakout territory, since the stock has taken out some near-term overhead resistance levels at $20.51 to $21.12. Shares of JCP are now quickly moving within range of triggering another near-term breakout trade, which will hit if JCP manages to take out some near-term overhead resistance at $21.69 and then its 200-day moving average at $22.82 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in JCP as long as it’s trending above those first tier breakout levels at $20.51 to $21.69 and then once it sustains a move or close above those second tier breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 9.03 million shares. If that breakout hits soon, then JCP will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $24 to $26.

Wal-Mart Stores

Retail store operator Wal-Mart Stores (WMT) is trading up 2.5% at $70.96 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 12.7 million

Average Volume: 8.81 million

Volume % Change: 145%

Shares of WMT are trending higher here after the company said a lower tax rate boosted its net income by 8.6% during the fourth quarter, but the company offered a tempered forecast going forward as its lower-income shoppers struggle with rising gas prices, delayed income tax refunds and higher payroll taxes.

From a technical perspective, WMT is bouncing higher here back above both its 50-day moving average at $69.49 and its 200-day moving average at $70.14 with above-average volume. This move is quickly pushing shares of WMT within range of triggering a near-term breakout trade, which will hit if WMT manages to take out some near-term overhead resistance levels at $71.70 to $72.70 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in WMT as long as it’s trending above its 200-day at $70.14 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 8.81 million shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then WMT will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $73.87 to $75.

Linn Energy

Linn Energy (LINE), an independent oil and natural gas company, seeks to acquire, develop and maximize cash flow from a growing portfolio of long-life oil and natural gas assets. This stock is trading up 2% at $37.39 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 3.16 million

Average Volume: 1.71 million

Volume % Change: 166%

Shares of LINE are spiking higher today after the company agreed to purchase Berry Petroleum for $2.42 million in stock to increase is proven reserves by 34%.

From a technical perspective, LINE is bouncing higher here back above both its 50-day moving average at $36.68 and its 200-day moving average at $37.25 with heavy upside volume. This move is quickly pushing the stock within range of triggering a near-term breakout trade., which will hit if LINE manages to take out some near-term overhead resistance levels at $38.50 to $38.77 and then once it takes out more resistance at $39.47 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in LINE as long as it’s trending above $37.35 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 1.71 million shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then LINE will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $41.60 to $42.57.

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.


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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.