Stock Quotes in this Article: BGFV, NILE, PPO, CSOD

MADISON, 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.

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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Polypore

Polypore (PPO) is a technology filtration company that develops, manufactures and markets specialized microporous membranes used in separation and filtration processes. This stock closed up 1.5% at $44.33 on Wednesday.

Wednesday's Volume: 1.31 million

Average Volume: 513,359

Volume % Change: 136%

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From a technical perspective, PPO trended modestly higher here with above-average volume. This move pushed shares of PPO into breakout territory, since the stock took out some past overhead resistance at $44.27. At last check, PPO hit an intraday high of $45 and volume was well above its three-month average action of 513,359 shares.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in PPO as long as it's trending above that key breakout level at $44.27 or above Wednesday's low of $43.58 and then once it sustains a move or close above Wednesday's high of $45 with volume that this near or above 513,359 shares. If we get that move soon, then PPO will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance level at its 52-week high of $48.42.

Cornerstone OnDemand

Cornerstone OnDemand (CSOD) is a provider of talent management solutions delivered as Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). This stock closed up 5% to $42.03 on Wednesday.

Wednesday's Volume: 1.50 million

Average Volume: 350,705

Volume % Change: 294%

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From a technical perspective, CSOD ripped higher here right above some near-term support at $39.07 with heavy upside volume. This stock has been trending sideways inside of a consolidation chart pattern for the last month, with shares moving between $37.95 on the downside and $41.78 on the upside. Shares of CSOD have now started to break out above the upper-end of its recent sideways chart pattern. This move could be signaling a significant run higher is in the cards for shares of CSOD.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in CSOD as long as it's trending above Wednesday's low of 40.41 and then once it sustains a move or close above its all-time high at $42.44 with volume that hits near or above 350,705 shares. If we get that move soon, then CSOD will set up to enter new all-time high territory, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that move are $50 to $60.

Big 5 Sporting Goods

Big 5 Sporting Goods (BGFV) operates as a sporting goods retailer in the western U.S. This stock closed up 3% at $21.61 on Wednesday.

Wednesday's Volume: 542,000

Average Volume: 290,150

Volume % Change: 67%

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From a technical perspective, BGFV bounced higher here right off some near-term support at around $21 with above-average volume. This move is quickly pushing shares of BGFV within range of triggering a major breakout trade. That trade will hit if BGFV manages to take out its 52-week high at $22.50 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in BGFV as long as it's trending above some key near-term support levels at $21 or above $19.74 and then once it sustains a move or close above its 52-week high at $22.50 with volume that's near or above 290,150 shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then BGFV will set up to enter new 52-week-high territory, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that breakout are $25 to $30.

Blue Nile

Blue Nile (NILE) is an online retailer of diamonds and jewelry. This stock closed up 1.7% to $36.85 on Wednesday.

Wednesday's Volume: 285,000

Average Volume: 158,589

Volume % Change: 61%

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From a technical perspective, NILE bounced modestly higher here right above its 200-day moving average at $35.95 with above-average volume. This stock has recently started to trend above some past overhead resistance at $35.97. At last check, NILE hit an intraday high of $37.32 with volume that was well above its three-month average action of 158,589 shares. This move could be signaling that shares of NILE are ready to make a significant move higher, since the stock is trending well above that past overhead resistance with strong volume flows.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in NILE as long as it's trending above its 200-day at $35.95 and then once it sustains a move or close above Wednesday's high of $37.32 with volume that hits near or above 158,589 shares. If we get that move soon, then NILE will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance level at $40.54. Any high-volume move above $40.54 will then put its next major overhead resistance levels at $43 to its 52-week high at $43.54.

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

-- Written by Roberto Pedone in Madison, Wis. 

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

Roberto Pedone, based out of Madison, 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.