Stock Quotes in this Article: COH, DORM, ESI, IRBT

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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Dorman Products

Dorman Products (DORM) is a supplier of automotive replacement parts and fasteners and service line products mainly for the automotive aftermarket. This stock is trading up 5.8% at $36.75 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 261,000

Average Volume: 128,617

Volume % Change: 240%

From a technical perspective, DORM is gapping higher here right off its 50-day moving average of $34.07 with above-average volume. This stock has been in a monster uptrend for the last six months, with shares soaring higher from its low of $28.05 to its recent high of $37.19. During that move, shares of DORM have been consistently making higher lows and higher highs, which is bullish technical price action. That move is quickly pushing DORM within range of triggering a major breakout trade. That trade will hit if DORM manages to take out its 52-week high of $37.19 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in DORM as long as it’s trending above today’s low of $36.24, and then once it sustains a move or close above $37.19 with volume that hits near or above 128,617 shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then DORM will set up to enter new 52-week-high territory, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that breakout are $40 to $42.

Coach

Coach (COH) is a marketer of fine accessories and gifts for women and men. Its product offerings include women's and men's bags, accessories, business cases, footwear, wearables, jewelry, sunwear, travel bags, watches and fragrance. This stock is trading up 1% at $51.13 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 9.47 million

Average Volume: 4.61 million

Volume % Change: 235%

Shares of COH are moving higher today despite a downgrade from ISI Group from buy to neutral.

From a technical perspective, COH is rebounding modestly here right off its recent low of $50.47 with monster upside volume. This stock gapped down huge off its earnings report a few days ago from $61.94 to $50.47 with heavy downside volume. That move has started to push COH into oversold territory, since its current relative strength index reading is 32.68. Oversold can always get more oversold, but if COH can take out its gap down day high of $52.44 with volume, then it could explode higher.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in COH as long as it’s trending above that low of $50.47 and then once it sustains a move or close above $52.44 with volume that hits near or above 4.61 million shares. If that move triggers soon, then COH will set up to re-fill some of that previous gap down zone that started near $62. Some possible upside targets off a move into the gap are $54 to $55.

iRobot

iRobot (IRBT) develops robotics and artificial intelligence technologies and applies these technologies in producing and marketing robots. This stock is trading up 11.2% at $23.49 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 627,000

Average Volume: 306,807

Volume % Change: 248%

Shares of IRBT are soaring today after the company said that the RI-VITA Remote Presence Robot has received 510K clearance from the FDA for use in hospitals. The RP-VITA is the first autonomous navigation remote presence robot to receive FDA clearance.

From a technical perspective, IRBT is skyrocketing higher here back above its 200-day moving average of $21.78 with above-average volume. This move is quickly pushing shares of IRBT within range of triggering a near-term breakout trade. That trade will hit if IRBT manages to clear some past overhead resistance at $24.26 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in IRBT as long as it’s trending above $22.50 and then once it sustains a move or close above $24.26 with volume that hits near or above 306,807 shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then IRBT will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $27.16 to $28.91. Any high-volume move above $28.91 will then give IRBT a chance to re-fill some of its previous gap down zone from last February that started at $38.33.

ITT Educational Services

ITT Educational Services (ESI) provides postsecondary degree programs in the U.S. It offers diploma, associate, bachelor and master degree programs. This stock is trading up 5.7% at $15.14 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 3.16 million

Average Volume: 800,325

Volume % Change: 261%

Shares of ESI are ripping higher today despite the fact the company posted disappointing fourth-quarter results and issued a dim outlook for 2013.

From a technical perspective, ESI is soaring higher here after hitting a new 52-week low of $11.69 with heavy upside volume. This stock has been downtrending badly for the last six months, with shares plunging lower from $40.15 to today’s low of $11.69. During that move, shares of ESI have been mostly making lower highs and lower lows, which is bearish technical price action. That said, the bounce today is quickly pushing ESI within range of triggering a near-term breakout trade. That trade will hit if ESI manages to take out some near-term overhead resistance levels at $14.85 to its 50-day at $17.13 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in ESI as long as it’s trending above $14.85, and then once it sustains a move or close above $17.13 with volume that hits near or above 800,325 shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then ESI will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $19.45 to $20.38.

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.