Stock Quotes in this Article: CAS, PGTI, WX, PCRX

DELAFIELD, 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.

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Major moves in volume can signal unusual activity, such as insider buying or selling -- or buying or selling by "superinvestors."

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.

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With that in mind, let's take a look at several stocks rising on unusual volume today.

Pacira Pharmaceuticals

Pacira Pharmaceuticals (PCRX) is an emerging specialty pharmaceutical company engaged in development, commercialization and manufacture of proprietary pharmaceutical products for use in hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers. This stock closed up 12.5% at $55.93 in Monday's trading session.

Monday's Volume: 944,000

Three-Month Average Volume: 517,152

Volume % Change: 80%

From a technical perspective, PCRX exploded higher here back above its 50-day moving average of $52.50 with above-average volume. This stock recently formed a double bottom chart pattern at $46.55 to $47.21. Since forming that bottom, shares of PCRX have started to rip higher and move within range of triggering a major breakout trade. That trade will hit if PCRX manages to take out Monday's intraday high of $56 to its 52-week high at $56.94 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in PCRX as long as it's trending above its 50-day at $52.20 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that's near or above 517,152 shares. If that breakout hits soon, then PCRX will set up to enter new 52-week-high territory, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that breakout are $60 to $63.

A.M. Castel

A.M. Castel (CAS) is a specialty metals and plastics distribution company. Its core products include nickel alloys, aluminum, stainless steel and carbon in various forms, such as plate, bars, tubing and coil. This stock closed up 9% at $14.88 in Monday's trading session.

Monday's Volume: 487,000

Three-Month Average Volume: 156,083

Volume % Change: 204%

From a technical perspective, CAS gapped sharply higher here back above its 50-day moving average of $14.27 and into breakout territory above some near-term overhead resistance at $14.37 with strong upside volume. This move pushed shares of CAS out of its downtrend that had a grip on the stock over the last five months. Market players should now look for a continuation move higher in the short-term if CAS manages to take out Monday's high of $15.28 to some more near-term overhead resistance at $15.47 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in CAS as long as it's trending above Monday's low of $14.07, and then once it sustains a move or close above $15.28 to $15.47 with volume that's near or above 156,083 shares. If we get that move soon, then CAS will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $16.75 to $17.38. Any high-volume move above those levels will then give CAS a chance to tag its 52-week high at $18.74.

WuXi PharmaTech

WuXi PharmaTech (WX) is a pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical device R&D outsourcing company, with operations in China and the U.S. This stock closed up 2.7% at $37.07 in Monday's trading session.

Monday's Volume: 1.24 million

Three-Month Average Volume: 582,844

Volume % Change: 142%

From a technical perspective, WX spiked higher here into new 52-week high territory with above-average volume. This stock has been uptrending strong for the last six months, with shares moving higher from its low of $18.91 to its intraday high of $38.01. During that uptrend, shares of WX have been consistently making higher lows and higher highs, which is bullish technical price action. Market players should now look for a continuation move higher in the short-term if WX manages to take out Monday's intraday high of $38.01 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in WX as long as it's trending above $36 or above $34 and then once it sustains a move or close above $38.01 with volume that's near or above 582,844 shares. If we get that move soon, then WX will set up to enter new 52-week-high territory, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that move are $43 to $45.

PGT

PGT (PGTI) engages in the manufacture and supply of residential impact-resistant windows and doors. This stock closed up 3.6% at $10.46 in Monday's trading session.

Monday's Volume: 1.24 million

Three-Month Average Volume: 526,509

Volume % Change: 124%

From a technical perspective, PGTI spiked higher here right above its 50-day moving average of $9.86 with above-average volume. This move briefly pushed shares of PGTI into breakout territory, since the stock flirted with some near-term overhead resistance at $10.50. Shares of PGTI are now quickly moving within range of triggering an even bigger breakout trade. That trade will hit if PGTI manages to take out some key overhead resistance levels at $11 to $11.19, and then once it takes out its 52-week high at $11.69 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in PGTI as long as it's trending above Monday's low of $10.11 or above its 50-day at $9.86 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that's near or above 526,509 shares. If that breakout hits soon, then PGTI will set up to enter new 52-week-high territory above $11.69, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that breakout are $13 to $15.

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

-- Written by Roberto Pedone in Delafield, Wis.


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

Roberto Pedone, based out of Delafield, 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.