Stock Quotes in this Article: AOL, CAS, CVA, GASS

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.

StealthGas

StealthGas (GASS) owns a fleet of LPG carriers providing international seaborne transportation services to LPG producers and users, as well as crude oil and product carriers chartered to oil producers, refiners and commodities traders. This stock closed up 6.4% at $12.30 in Monday's trading session.

Monday's Volume: 712,000

Three-Month Average Volume: 219,097

Volume % Change: 255%

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From a technical perspective, GASS ripped sharply higher here right off some near-term support at $11.45 with strong upside volume. This move is quickly pushing shares of GASS within range of triggering a big breakout trade. That trade will hit if GASS manages to take out Monday's high of $12.35 to its 52-week high at $12.86 with high volume

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in GASS as long as it's trending above some key near-term support at $11.45 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 219,097 shares. If that breakout hits soon, then GASS will set up to enter new 52-week-high territory, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that breakout are its next major overhead resistance levels at $17 to $20.

AOL

AOL (AOL) is a global Web services company whose business consists of online content, products and services that it offers to consumers, publishers and advertisers. This stock closed up 5.5% at $38.72 in Monday's trading session.

Monday's Volume: 5.29 million

Three-Month Average Volume: 1.42 million

Volume % Change: 324%

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From a technical perspective, AOL spiked sharply higher here and broke out above some key overhead resistance levels at $38.40 to $38.48 with heavy upside volume. This stock has been uptrending strong for the last few weeks, with shares pushing higher from its low of $32.19 to its intraday high of $39.87. During that move, shares of AOL have been consistently making higher lows and higher highs, which is bullish technical price action. That move has now pushed shares of AOL within range of triggering a big breakout trade. That trade will hit if AOL manages to take out Monday's high of $39.87 to some past resistance at $42.12, and then once it clears its 52-week high at $43.93 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in AOL as long as it's trending above Monday's low of $36.80, and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that's near or above 1.42 million shares. If that breakout hits soon, then AOL will set up to enter new 52-week-high territory above $43.93, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that breakout are $50 to $55.

A.M. Castle

A.M. Castle (CAS) is a specialty metals and plastics distribution company. This stock closed up 6.1% at $15.31 in Monday's trading session.

Monday's Volume: 833,000

Three-Month Average Volume: 141,406

Volume % Change: 434%

From a technical perspective, CAS spiked sharply higher here right above its recent low of $14.03 with strong upside volume. This move pushed shares of CAS into breakout territory, since the stock took out some near-term overhead resistance at $15.05. Market players should now look for a continuation move higher in the short-term, if CAS can manage to take out its next major overhead resistance levels.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in CAS as long as it's trending above $15 or $14.50 and then once it sustains a move or close above Monday's high of $15.35 to its 50-day moving average of $15.62 with volume that's near or above 141,406 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 its 200-day moving average of $16.58 to $16.75. Any high-volume move above those levels will then give CAS a chance to tag $17.50 to $19.

Covanta

Covanta (CVA) is a developer, owner and operator of infrastructure for the conversion of waste to energy known as energy-from-waste, as well as other waste disposal and renewable energy production businesses. This stock closed up 3.4% at $18.02 in Monday's trading session.

Monday's Volume: 9.08 million

Three-Month Average Volume: 1.74 million

Volume % Change: 517%

Shares of CVA trended higher on Monday after Barron's said the company's shares are likely to keep growing for years because most of its revenue is secured by long-term contracts and barriers to entry in the waste-to-energy business are high.

From a technical perspective, CVA gapped higher here with heavy upside volume. This stock recently plunged badly from its high of $21.72 to its 52-week low of $16.70. During that move, shares of CVA have been consistently making lower highs and lower lows, which is bearish technical price action. That said, shares of CVA have now started to rebound sharply off that $16.70 low with bullish upside volume flows.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in CVA as long as it's trending above Monday's low of $17.95 and then once it sustains a move or close above Monday's high of $18.50 with volume that hits near or above 1.74 million shares. If we get that move soon, then CVA will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels near $19.50 to its 200-day at $19.96. Any high-volume move above those levels will then give CVA a chance to tag its 50-day at $20.64 to $22.

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.