Stock Quotes in this Article: CGX, CPTS, LRN, MX

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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Conceptus

Conceptus (CPTS) develops, manufactures and markets the Essure permanent birth control system, an innovative and proprietary medical device for women. This stock is trading up 7.7% at $22.95 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 446,000

Average Volume: 202,753

Volume % Change: 287%

Shares of CPTS are ripping higher today after Cantor said following the company’s strong fourth quarter results, that CPTS will keep generating double digit growth during 2013 and 2014. The firm kept its buy rating on the stock and raised its price target to $25 from $22 per share.

From a technical perspective, CPTS is soaring higher here right off its 50-day moving average of $21.39 with above-average volume. This move has started to push shares of CPTS into breakout territory, since the stock has cleared some near-term overhead resistance levels at $22.49 to $22.50. At last check, CPST has hit an intraday high of $23.85 and volume is well above its three-month average action of 202,753 shares.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in CPTS as long as it’s trending above those breakout levels of $22.49 to $22.50 with strong upside volume flows. I would consider any upside volume day that registers near or above 202,753 shares as bullish. If CPTS can maintain that trend, then this stock will set up to trend north of $25 in the near future. Keep in mind that any move above $23.85 will push shares of CPTS into new 52-week-high territory, which is bullish technical price action.

Magnachip Semiconductor

Magnachip Semiconductor (MX) is a designer and manufacturer of analog and mixed-signal semiconductor products for consumer applications. This stock is trading up 4.6% at $15.51 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 3.47 million

Average Volume: 265,353

Volume % Change: 2657%

Shares of MX are spiking higher today after the company announced the pricing of a secondary offering of 5,000,000 shares of common stock at $14.50 per share.

From a technical perspective, MX is ripping higher here right above its 50-day moving average of $14.68 with monster upside volume. This move is quickly pushing shares of MX within range of triggering a major breakout trade. That trade will hit if MX manages to clear some key overhead resistance levels at $16.70 to $16.80 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in MX as long as it’s trending above its 50-day at $14.68, and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 265,353 shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then MX will set up to enter new 52-week high territory above $16.80, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that breakout are $18 to $20.

Consolidated Graphics

Consolidated Graphics (CGX) is a provider of commercial printing services with approximately 70 printing businesses strategically located across 27 states, one Canadian province, and in Prague, the Czech Republic. This stock is trading up 3.5% to $37.91 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 143,000

Average Volume: 59,926

Volume % Change: 271%

Shares of CGX are trending higher today after the company beat Wall Street estimates for earnings per share by 48 cents and beat on revenue.

From a technical perspective, CGX is gapping higher here with above-average volume. This move has briefly pushed shares of CGX into breakout territory, since the stock has flirted with some near-term overhead resistance at $38.34. At last check, CGX has hit an intraday high of $40 and volume is well above its three-month average action of 59,926 shares.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in CGX as long as it’s trending above $38.34, and then once it sustains a move or close above $40 with volume that hits near or above 59,926 shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then CGX will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $43.76 to $45.

K12

K12 (LRN) is a technology-based education company, which offers proprietary curriculum and educational services created for online delivery to students in kindergarten through 12th grade. This stock is trading up 5.8% at $19.38 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 597,000

Average Volume: 317,839

Volume % Change: 198%

Shares of LRN are ripping higher today after the company’s earnings beat last year’s by 118%.

From a technical perspective, LRN is spiking higher here right above some near-term support at $17.77 and back above its 50-day moving average of $19.09 with above-average volume. This move is quickly pushing shares of LRN within range of triggering a near-term breakout trade. That trade will hit if LRN manages to take out its 200-day moving average at $20.70 and then once it clears more overhead resistance at $21.50 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in LRN as long as it’s trending above its 50-day at $19.09, and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 317,839 shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then LRN will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $22.40 to $22.68. Any high-volume move above $22.68 will then put $23.94 into range for shares of LRN.

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.