Stock Quotes in this Article: DDD, FURX, MSA, SSW

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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Furiex Pharmaceuticals

Furiex Pharmaceuticals (FURX) is a drug development collaboration company that uses clinical development strategies to increase the value of partnered pharmaceutical assets and accelerate their development timelines. This stock closed up 6.3% at $36.27 on Wednesday.

Wednesday's Volume: 190,000

Average Volume: 77,918

Volume % Change: 120%

From a technical perspective, FURX soared higher here right off some near-term support at $34 with above-average volume. This move pushed shares of FURX into breakout territory, since the stock took out some near-term overhead resistance at $35.75. At last check, FURX hit an intraday high of $37.25.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in FURX as long as it’s trending above $35.75 and then once it triggers a new breakout trade above $37.25 with volume that hits near or above 77,918 shares. If that breakout triggers, then FURX will set up to enter new 52-week-high and all-time-high territory, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that breakout are $40 to $42 in the near future.

Mine Safety Appliances

Mine Safety Appliances (MSA) is engaged in the development, manufacture and supply of products that protect people's health and safety. This stock closed up 2.9% at $46.54 on Wednesday.

Wednesday's Volume: 426,000

Average Volume: 96,560

Volume % Change: 296%

Shares of MSA rose modestly on Wednesday after the company reported an earnings per share increase of 1.96% to 52 cents per share, versus EPS of 46 cents per share in the year-earlier quarter. Revenue decreased 2.65% to $296.7 million from the year-earlier quarter.

From a technical perspective, MSA spiked higher here right off some near-term support at $44.97 with above-average volume. This move has pushed shares of MSA into breakout territory, since the stock took out some near-term overhead resistance at $46.34. That move has also pushed shares of MSA into new 52-week-high territory, since the stock hit an intraday high of $46.85.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in MSA as long as it’s trending above $46.34 or its Wednesday low of $45.44, and then once it triggers a new breakout trade above $46.85 with volume that hits near or above 96,560 shares. If that breakout hits soon, then MSA will set up to enter new 52-week-high territory, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that move are $50 to $52 in the near future.

Seaspan

Seaspan (SSW) operates a fleet of about 42 containerships and charters them pursuant to long-term, fixed-rate time charters to major container liner companies. This stock closed up 3.5% at $19.89 on Wednesday.

Wednesday's Volume: 356,000

Average Volume: 120,497

Volume % Change: 243%

From a technical perspective, SSW ripped higher here right above its recent low of $18.86 with above-average volume. This stock has been uptrending strong for the last month and change, with shares soaring from its low of $15.75 to its recent high of $20.15. During that move, shares of SSW have been consistently making higher lows and higher highs, which is bullish technical price action. That move has now pushed shares of SSW within range of triggering a near-term breakout trade. That trade will hit if SSW manages to take out some near-term overhead resistance at $20.15 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in SSW as long as it’s trending above Wednesday’s low of $19.51 or that recent low of $18.86, and then once it sustains a move or close above $20.15 with volume that hits near or above 120,497 shares. If that breakout hits soon, then SSW will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $21.12. Any high-volume move above $21.12 could then send SSW towards $23 to $25 in the near future.

3D Systems

3D Systems (DDD) manufactures & sells 3D content-to-print solutions and 3D printing systems. This stock closed up 4% at $65.59 on Wednesday.

Wednesday's Volume: 4.43 million

Average Volume: 2.63 million

Volume % Change: 100%

From a technical perspective, DDD ripped higher here right off some near-term support at $62.26 with above-average volume. This move is quickly pushing shares of DDD within range of triggering a near-term breakout trade. That trade will hit if DDD manages to take out some near-term overhead resistance at $68.44 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in DDD as long as it’s trending above $63 to $62.26, and then once it sustains a move or close above $68.44 with volume that hits near or above 2.63 million shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then DDD will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $70 to $71.98.

Any high-volume move above $71.98 will then push shares of DDD into new 52-week-high and all-time-high territory, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that move are $75 to $80 in the near future.

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.