Stock Quotes in this Article: IBKC, MM, SEP, FB

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.

Millennial Media

Millennial Media (MM) is a mobile advertising platform company whose technology, tools and services help developers maximize their advertising revenue. This stock is trading up 8.8% at $15.51 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 5.3 million

Average Volume: 641,886

Volume % Change: 2042%

Shares of MM are spiking big to the upside today after the company announced the pricing of its previously announced underwritten public offering of 10 million shares of its common stock at $14.15 per share.

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From a technical perspective, MM is gapping higher here right above its 50-day moving average of $13.54 with monster upside volume. This move is quickly pushing MM within range of triggering a near-term breakout trade. That trade will hit once MM manages to take out some near-term overhead resistance levels at $16 to $16.58 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in MM as long as it’s trending above its 50-day at $13.54, and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 641,886 shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then look for MM to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $19.40 to $19.98.

IberiaBank

IberiaBank (IBKC) offers a range of commercial, consumer, mortgage and private banking products and services and cash management, deposit and annuity products and investment brokerage services. This stock is trading up 7.9% at $48.76 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 550,000

Average Volume: 173,089

Volume % Change: 674%

This stock is ripping to the upside today after the company reported net income of $21 million and fully diluted earnings per share of 73 cents per share, up 71% versus the second quarter of 2012.

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From a technical perspective, IBKC is gapping sharply higher here back above its 50-day at $46.81, and right into its 200-day at $49.34 with above-average volume. This move is quickly pushing IBKC within range of triggering a near-term breakout trade. That trade will hit once IBKC manages to take out some near-term overhead resistance at $49.57 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in IBKC as long as its trending above its 50-day, and then once it sustains a move or close above $49.34 to $49.57 with volume that hits near or above 173,089 shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then look for IBKC to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $51.50 to $51.87, and possibly even $53.21.

Facebook

Facebook (FB) operates a social networking Web site. This stock is trading up 20% at $23.46 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 151 million

Average Volume: 48.2 million

Volume % Change: 531%

Shares of FB are exploding to the upside today after the company reported better-than-expected third quarter results and improved mobile ad sales.

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From a technical perspective, FB is gapping sharply higher here back above its 50-day at $20.24, and into breakout territory above some near-term overhead resistance levels at $22.59 to $23.37 with monster upside volume. This move is quickly pushing FB within range of filling a previous gap zone from back in late July.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in FB once it manages to take out its gap down day high at around $25 with high volume. Look for a sustained move or close above $25 with volume that hits near or above 48.2 million shares. If FB triggers that breakout soon, then look for this stock to fill that gap and potentially trade back towards $27.50 to $29.50 in the near future. Any high-volume move above $29.50 will put $32.50 to $33.45 into focus for FB.

Spectra Energy Partners

Spectra Energy Partners (SEP) engages in the transportation of natural gas through interstate pipeline systems, and the storage of natural gas in underground facilities in the U.S. This stock is trading up 2.1% at $31.40 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 240,000

Average Volume: 102,417

Volume % Change: 386%

Shares of SEP are moving modestly higher today after the company announced that the board of directors of its general partner declared a quarterly cash distribution to shareholders of 49 cents per share, an increase of one-half cent over the previous level of 48.5 cents per share.

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From a technical perspective, SEP is gapping higher here back above its 200-day moving average of $31.17 with above-average volume. This move is quickly pushing SEP within range of triggering a near-term breakout trade. That trade will hit once SEP manages to take out its 50-day at $31.91, and then once it moves above some near-term overhead resistance at $32.66 to $32.85 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in SEP as long as its trending above its 50-day, and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 102,417 shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then look for SEP to hit $35 or higher in the near future.

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 stocks, options, futures, commodities and currencies. He is also an outside contributor to Beconequity.com and maintains the website Maddmoney.net, which he sold to Blue Wave Advisors in 2008. Roberto studied International Business at The Milwaukee School of Engineering, and he spent a year overseas studying business in Lubeck, Germany.