Stock Quotes in this Article: MNTX, NTWK, SPRD, SLCA

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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Manitex International

Manitex International (MNTX) is engaged in the design, manufacture and distribution of engineered lifting solutions. This stock closed up 9.7% at $11.70 on Wednesday.

Wednesday's Volume: 447,000

Average Volume: 142,615

Volume % Change: 177%

From a technical perspective, MNTX exploded higher here and broke out above some near-term overhead resistance levels at $10.98 to $11.58 with heavy upside volume. This move is quickly pushing shares of MNTX within range of triggering another major breakout trade. That trade will hit if MNTX manages to clear its 52-week high at $11.95 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in MNTX as long as it’s trending above some near-term resistance levels at $11.58 or $11.09 and then once it sustains a move or close above $11.95 with volume that hits near or above 142,615 shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then MNTX will enter new 52-week-high territory, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that breakout are $14 to $15.

NetSol Technologies

NetSol Technologies (NTWK) designs, develops, markets and exports proprietary software products to customers in the automobile finance and leasing, banking, health care and financial services industries worldwide. This stock closed up 7.3% at $12.59 on Wednesday.

Wednesday's Volume: 736,000

Average Volume: 242,690

Volume % Change: 147%

From a technical perspective, NTWK ripped higher here off $12 with above-average volume. This stock recently formed a double bottom chart pattern at $10.20 to $10.21 and the stock has soared higher to above $12 since finding that support. Shares of NTWK are now quickly moving within range of triggering a major breakout trade. That trade will hit if NTWK manages to take out some key overhead resistance at $12.81 to $13 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in NTWK as long as it’s trending above some key near-term support levels at $11.93 or $11.50 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 242,690 shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then NTWK will set up to re-fill some of its previous gap down zone from July of 2011 that started near $17.

U.S. Silica

U.S. Silica (SLCA) is a domestic producer of commercial silica, a specialized mineral that is a critical input into a variety of attractive end markets. This stock closed up 5.1% at $23.87 on Wednesday.

Wednesday's Volume: 2.02 million

Average Volume: 847,158

Volume % Change: 157%

From a technical perspective, SLCA bounced sharply higher here right above some near-term support at $22 with heavy upside volume. This stock has been uptrending strong for the last few trading sessions, with shares moving higher from its low of $21.24 to its intraday high of $24.23. During that move, shares of SLCA have been consistently making higher lows and higher highs, which is bullish technical price action. That move has now pushed shares of SLCA within range of triggering a near-term breakout trade. That trade will hit if SCLA manages to take out some near-term overhead resistance levels at $25 to $26 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in SLCA as long as it’s trending above some near-term support at $22, and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 847,158 shares. If that breakout hits soon, then SCLA will set up to re-test or possibly take out its all-time high of $28.50. Any high-volume move above $28.50 will then put $30 or higher into range for shares of SLCA.

Spreadtrum Communications

Spreadtrum Communications (SPRD) is a fabless semiconductor company that designs, develops and markets baseband processor solutions for the wireless communications market. This stock closed up 7.7% at $19.69 on Wednesday.

Wednesday's Volume: 3.08 million

Average Volume: 718,118

Volume % Change: 292%

Shares of SPRD trended higher on Wednesday after Jefferies upgraded the stock to buy from hold.

From a technical perspective, SPRD ripped higher here back above its 200-day moving average of $18.25 with heavy upside volume. This move pushed shares of SPRD into breakout territory, since the stock took out some near-term overhead resistance levels at $18.70 to $18.80. Shares of SPRD have also started to re-fill some of its previous gap down zone from last November, since the stock closed above its gap down day high at around $19.50.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in SPRD as long as it’s trending above Wednesday’s low of $18.70, and then once it sustains a move or close above Wednesday’s high of $19.88 with volume that hits near or above 718,118 shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then SPRD will set up to re-fill more of that previous gap down zone from last November that started at $22.13. Any high volume move above $22.13 will then put its 52-week high of $23.20 into range for shares of SPRD.

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.