Stock Quotes in this Article: BWLD, HLF, PRAA, EXAM

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.

Herbalife

Herbalife (HLF) is a global nutrition company that sells weight management, healthy meals and snacks, sports and fitness, energy and targeted nutritional products as well as personal care products. This stock closed up 9% to $65.50 in Wednesday's trading session.

 

Wednesday's Volume: 15.65 million

Three-Month Average Volume: 2.94 million

Volume % Change: 462%

 

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From a technical perspective, HLF ripped higher here tagging new 52-week highs with monster upside volume. This stock has been uptrending strong for the last two months, with shares soaring higher from its low of $42.09 to its intraday high of $66.50. During that move, shares of HLF have been consistently making higher lows and higher highs, which is bullish technical price action.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in HLF as long as it's trending above some near-term support at $57.50 and then once it sustains a move or close above Wednesday's high of $66.50 with volume that hits near or above 2.94 million shares. If we get that move soon, then HLF will set up to enter new 52-week-high territory, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that breakout are $75 to $80.

Examworks Group

Examworks Group (EXAM) is a provider of independent medical examinations, peer and bill reviews and related services. This stock closed up 9.4% at $24.28 in Wednesday's trading session.

Wednesday's Volume: 1.62 million

Three-Month Average Volume: 209,788

Volume % Change: 583%

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From a technical perspective, EXAM exploded higher here right off some near-term support at $21.91 with heavy upside volume. This stock has been uptrending strong for the last six months, with shares soaring higher from its low of $13.79 to its intraday high of $24.40. During that uptrend, shares of EXAM have been consistently making higher lows and higher highs, which is bullish technical price action. This move also pushed shares of EXAM into breakout territory, since the stock took out its former 52-week high at $23.56.

 

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in EXAM as long as it's trending above $23 or $22.50 and then once it sustains a move or close above Wednesday's high of $24.40 with volume that hits near or above 209,788 shares. If we get that move soon, then EXAM will set up to enter new 52-week-high territory, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that move are $28 to $30.

Buffalo Wild Wings

Buffalo Wild Wings (BWLD) is an owner, operator and franchiser of restaurants featuring a variety of boldly-flavored, craveable menu items. This stock closed up 6% to $103.58 in Wednesday's trading session.

Wednesday's Volume: 1.55 million

Three-Month Average Volume: 402,120

Volume % Change: 319%

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From a technical perspective, BWLD ripped higher here back above its 50-day moving average of $98.38 with heavy upside volume. This move is quickly pushing shares of BWLD within range of triggering major breakout trade. That trade will hit if BWLD manages to take out its intraday high on Wednesday of $105.32 and then once it clears is 52-week high at $106.03 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in BWLD as long as it's trending above its 50-day at $98.38 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 402,120 shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then BWLD will set up to enter new 52-week-high territory, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that breakout are $110 to $120.

Portfolio Recovery Associates

Portfolio Recovery Associates (PRAA) is engaged in the business of purchasing, managing and collecting portfolios of defaulted consumer receivables, as well as offering accounts receivable management and payment processing services. This stock closed up 3.5% at $149.31 in Wednesday's trading session.

Wednesday's Volume: 482,000

Three-Month Average Volume: 113,270

Volume % Change: 272%

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From a technical perspective, PRAA gapped sharply higher here into breakout territory above $150.31 and above its 50-day moving average at $150.42 with above-average volume. This move is quickly pushing shares of PRAA within range of triggering another major breakout trade. That trade will hit if PRAA manages to take out some near-term overhead resistance levels at $159 to $159.68 and then once it clears its 52-week high at $163.87 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in PRAA as long as it's trending above its 50-day at $150.42 or above Wednesday's low of $149.04, and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that's near or above 113,270 shares. If that breakout hits soon, then PRAA will set up to enter new 52-week-high territory above $163.87, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that breakout are $170 to $180.

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.