Stock Quotes in this Article: ESI, EXPE, GPRE, PRLB

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.

>>5 Stocks Ready to Break Out

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.

>>5 Stocks Under $10 Set to Soar

With that in mind, let's take a look at several stocks rising on unusual volume today.

Proto Labs

Proto Labs (PRLB) is a manufacturer of custom parts for prototyping and short-run production. This stock closed up 2.7% at $70.50 in Monday's trading session.

Monday's Volume: 785,000

Three-Month Average Volume: 453,827

Volume % Change: 100%

>>5 Rocket Stocks Set to Rally

From a technical perspective, PRLB spiked higher here into new 52-week- and all-time-high territory with above-average volume. This stock has been uptrending strong for the last six months, with shares soaring higher from its low of $39.64 to its new all-time high of $72.08. During that move, shares of PRLB have been making mostly higher lows and higher highs, which is bullish technical price action.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in PRLB as long as it's trending above Monday's low o $67.96 and then once it sustains a move or close above its new all-time high of $72.08 with volume that hits near or above 453,827 shares. If we get that move soon, then PRLB will set up to enter new all-time-high territory, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that move are $75 to $85.

Expedia

Expedia (EXPE) is an online travel company. This stock closed up 3.1% at $49.69 in Monday's trading session.

Monday's Volume: 6.83 million

Three-Month Average Volume: 3.40 million

Volume % Change: 210%

>>4 Big Stocks on Traders' Radars

From a technical perspective, EXPE spiked higher here right above its recent low of $45.75 with heavy upside volume. This stock recently gapped down sharply from $66 to that $45.75 low with heavy downside volume flows. That move has now pushed shares of EXPE into oversold territory, since its current relative strength index reading is 32.95. After tagging that $45.75 low, shares of EXPE have started to rebound and are now quickly moving within range of triggering a near-term breakout trade. That breakout will hit if EXPE manages to take out some near-term overhead resistance levels at $50 to its gap down day high at $50.90 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in EXPE as long as it's trending above $48 or $47 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that's near or above 3.40 million shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then EXPE will set up to re-fill some of its previous gap down zone that started at $66. Some possible upside targets if EXPE gets into that gap with volume are $55 to $56, or even its 50-day at $58.47.

Green Plains Renewable Energy

Green Plains Renewable Energy (GPRE) is a producer, marketer and distributer of ethanol. This stock closed up 4.3% at $17.30 in Monday's trading session.

Monday's Volume: 804,000

Three-Month Average Volume: 460,550

Volume % Change: 90%

>>3 Hot Stocks to Trade (or Not)

From a technical perspective, GPRE bounced sharply higher here right above some near-term support at $15.51 and above its 50-day moving average of $15.08 with above-average volume. This move is quickly pushing shares of GPRE within range of triggering a major breakout trade. That trade will hit if GPRE manages to take out Monday's high of $17.49 and then once it clears its 52-week high at $18.40 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in GPRE as long as it's trending above some near-term support at $15.51 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that's near or above 460,550 shares. If that breakout hits soon, then GPRE will set up to enter new 52-week-high territory, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that breakout are $20 to $25

ITT Educational Services

ITT Educational Services (ESI) offers postsecondary degree programs in the U.S. This stock closed up 8.9% at $30 in Monday's trading session.

Monday's Volume: 733,000

Three-Month Average Volume: 695,885

Volume % Change: 65%

>>5 Big Stocks to Trade for Gains

From a technical perspective, ESI soared higher here right above its 50-day moving average of $25.78 with above-average volume. This stock recently formed a double bottom chart pattern at $26.21 to $26.01. Following that bottom, shares of ESI have rebounded sharply higher and into breakout territory above $29.35. At last check, ESI closed strong at its intraday high of $30 with volume that was slightly above its three-month average action of 695,885 shares.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in ESI as long as it's trending above Monday's low of $27.27 and then once it sustains a move or close above Monday's high of $30 with volume that's near or above 695,885 shares. If we get that move soon, then ESI will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $32 to $35. Any high-volume move above those levels will then put $40 into range for shares of ESI.

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.

RELATED LINKS:

>>4 Stocks Under $10 Making Big Moves
>>5 Stocks With Big Insider Buying

>> 5 Surprise Stocks the Pros Love Right Now

Follow Stockpickr on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.

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.