Stock Quotes in this Article: FTI, LGF, NFX, OSIS

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.”

>>5 Stocks Poised for Breakouts

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.

>>5 Toxic Stocks You Need to Sell

Lions Gate Entertainment

Lions Gate Entertainment (LGF) is an entertainment company with a presence in motion picture production and distribution, television programming and syndication, home entertainment, new channel platforms and international distribution and sales. This stock is trading up 2.6% at $24.57 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 1.58 million

Average Volume: 1.32 million

Volume % Change: 138%

>>5 Rocket Stocks to Buy as Stocks Bounce

From a technical perspective, LGF is trending higher here right above its 50-day moving average at $22.36 with above-average volume. This move has started to push shares of LGF into breakout territory, since the sock has taken out some near-term overhead resistance levels at $24.12 to $24.15. At last check, shares of LGF have hit an intraday high of $25.05 and volume has just started to surpass its three-month average action of 1.32 million shares.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in LGF as long as it’s trending above today’s low of $23.67, and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels at $24.12 to $24.15 and above today’s high of $25.05 with volume that hits near or above 1.32 million shares. If LGF can maintain this move, then this stock will set up to enter new 52-week-high territory above $25.05, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets $28 to $30.

OSI Systems

OSI Systems (OSIS) is engaged in the design and manufacture of electronic systems and components for critical applications. This stock is trading up 4.1% to $55.70 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 994,000

Average Volume: 285,882

Volume % Change: 386%

Shares of OSIS are ripping higher here after the company reported lower revenue but higher gross profit for the quarter.

>>5 Hated Earnings Stocks That Deserve Your Love

From a technical perspective, OSIS is surging higher here with above-average volume. This stock has been downtrending badly for the last month and change, with shares dropping from its high of $66.18 to its recent low of $48.10. During that move, shares of OSIS have been consistently making lower highs and lower lows, which is bearish technical price action. That said, shares of OSIS now look to have broken its downtrending chart pattern and the stock is quickly moving within range of triggering a near-term breakout trade. That trade will hit if OSIS manages to take out some near-term overhead resistance levels at $55.87 to $59.44 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in OSIS as long as it’s trending above $55, and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 285,882 shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then OSIS will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $62 to $64, or even its 200-day at $66.27.

FMC Technologies

FMC Technologies (FTI) is a global provider of technology solutions for the energy industry. It designs, manufactures and services technologically sophisticated systems and products including subsea production and processing systems. This stock is trading up 3.2% at $52.27 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 2.58 million

Average Volume: 2.02 million

Volume % Change: 121%

Shares of FTI are trending higher here after Sterne Agee says the stock should be bought on any weakness, noting that despite weaker-thantexpected quarterly results, the total orders came in higher than anticipated, while the full year guidance remains unchanged.

>>4 Tech Stocks Under $10 Ripping Higher

From a technical perspective, FTI is ripping higher here back above its 50-day moving average at $51.81 with above-average volume. This move is quickly pushing shares of FTI within range of triggering a major breakout trade. That trade will hit if FTI manages to take out its 52-week high at $55.49 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in FTI as long as it’s trending above its 50-day at $51.81, and then once it sustains a move or close above $55.49 with volume that hits near or above 2.02 million shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then FTI 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.

Newfield Exploration

Newfield Exploration (NFX) is an independent energy company, engaged in the exploration, development amd production of crude oil, natural gas and natural gas liquids. This stock is trading up 7.8% to $21.40 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 4.08 million

Average Volume: 2.42 million

Volume % Change: 198%

Shares of NFX are ripping higher here after the company reported first-quarter earnings that beat Wall Street expectations, and said production was higher than forecasted. Net production of 11.7 million barrels of oil equivalent was at the high end of earlier forecasts and above what Wall Street analysts expected.

From a technical perspective, NFX is trending higher here right above its recent 52-week low of $19.57 with heavy upside volume. This stock has been downtrending badly for the last two months and change, with shares dropping from its high of $30.50 to its low of $19.57. During that move, shares of NFX have been consistently making lower highs and lower lows, which is bearish technical price action. That said, shares of NFX looked poised to break that downtrend since the stock is breaking out above some near-term overhead resistance at $20.95.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in NFX as long as it’s trending above that breakout level of $20.95 with strong upside volume flows. I would consider any upside volume day that registers near or above its three-month average action of 2.42 million shares as bullish. If NFX can maintain that trend, then this stock will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $23 to $25.

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.

RELATED LINKS:

>>5 Rocket Stocks to Buy as Stocks Bounce
>>4 Under-$10 Stocks Making Big Moves

>>4 Stocks Poised to Win -- or Lose -- From the Expanding Drought

Follow Stockpickr on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.

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.