Stock Quotes in this Article: BP, ODFL, TCBI, WPZ

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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Texas Capital BancShares

Texas Capital BancShares (TCBI) is a bank holding company in Texax that concentrates on middle-market commercial and high-net-worth customers. This stock is trading up 4.5% at $42.67 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 689,000

Average Volume: 425,540

Volume % Change: 111%

From a technical perspective, TCBI is bouncing higher here right above its recent low of $40.25 with above-average volume. This move is quickly pushing shares of TCBI within range of triggering a major breakout trade. That trade will hit if TCBI manages to take out some near-term overhead resistance levels at its 50-day moving average of $43.17 and its 200-day moving average at $44.26, and then once it clears more resistance at $44.55 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in TCBI as long as it’s trending above today’s low of $41.47, and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 425,540. If that breakout hits soon, then TCBI will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $47.39 to $48.35.

Williams Partners

Williams Partners (WPZ) is engaged in the business of gathering, transporting, processing and treating natural gas as well as fractionating and storing natural gas liquids. This stock is trading up 2.3% to $50.21 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 1.12 million

Average Volume: 1.11 million

Volume % Change: 80%

From a technical perspective, WPZ is just starting to trend back above both its 200-day moving average at $50.10 and its 50-day moving average at $50.16 with above-average volume. This move is quickly pushing shares of WPZ within range of triggering a major breakout trade. That trade will hit if WPZ takes out both of those key moving averages and once it clears more overhead resistance levels at $50.56 to $51.30 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in WPZ as long as it’s trending above today’s low of $49.30 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 1.11 million shares. If that breakout hits soon, then WPZ will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $53 to $54.50.

BP

BP (BP) explores for oil and natural gas and also engages in refining, manufacturing, marketing, transportation and supply and trading of crude oil, petroleum, petrochemicals products and related services. This stock is trading up 2.5% at $41.95 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 7.18 million

Average Volume: 7.01 million

Volume % Change: 80%

Shares of BP are trending higher today after the company said it will buy back $8 billion worth of stock using money it earned by selling its stake in Russian producer TNK-BP.

From a technical perspective, BP is gapping sharply higher here back above its 200-day moving average of $41.68 with above-average volume. This move is quickly pushing shares of BP within range of triggering a near-term breakout trade. That trade will hit if BP manages to take out some near-term overhead resistance at $42.19 and then once it clears its 50-day at $42.40 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in BP as long as it’s trending above its 200-day at $41.68, and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 7.01 million shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then BP will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $43.50 to $44.50.

Old Dominion Freight Line

Old Dominion Freight Line (ODFL) is a less-than-truckload, union-free motor carrier providing regional, inter-regional and national LTL service and value-added logistics services. This stock is trading up 5.1% at $38.18 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 895,000

Average Volume: 626,031

Volume % Change: 99%

From a technical perspective, ODFL is trending sharply higher here right above its 50-day moving average of $36.35 with above-average volume. This move has started to push shares of ODFL into breakout territory and new 52-week-high territory, since the stock has taken out some near-term overhead resistance levels at $37.79 to $37.95.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in ODFL as long as it’s trending above today’s low of $37.09 or its 50-day at $36.35 and then once it sustains a move or close above its 52-week high of $38.55 with volume that hits near or above 626,031 shares. If that breakout hits soon, then ODFL will enter new 52-week-high territory, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that move are $40 to $43.

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.