Stock Quotes in this Article: PLCE, UA, NLNK, ABBV

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.

Under Armour

Under Armour (UA) is engaged in designing, development, marketing and distribution of technologically advanced, branded performance products for men, women and youth. This stock closed up 1.6% to $84.47 in Wednesday's trading session.

Wednesday's Volume: 1.94 million

Three-Month Average Volume: 1.23 million

Volume % Change: 66%

From a technical perspective, UA spiked modestly higher here and broke out above some near-term overhead resistance at $83.83 with above-average volume. This move is quickly pushing shares of UA within range of triggering another big breakout trade. That trade will hit if UA manages to take out Wednesday's high of $85.65 to its 52-week high at $86.02 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in UA as long as it's trending above Wednesday's low of $83.24 or above its 50-day at $80.97 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 1.23 million shares. If that breakout hits soon, then UA will set up to enter new 52-week-high territory, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that breakout are $93 to $95.

AbbVie

AbbVie (ABBV), a research-based biopharmaceutical company, engages in the discovery, development, manufacture and sale of pharmaceutical products worldwide. This stock closed up 1% at $52.67 in Wednesday's trading session.

Wednesday's Volume: 10.77 million

Three-Month Average Volume: 5.2 million

Volume % Change: 128%

From a technical perspective, ABBV spiked modestly higher here with strong upside volume. This stock has been uptrending strong for the last three months and change, with shares moving higher from its low of $41.87 to its recent high of $54.13. During that uptrend, shares of ABBV have been making mostly higher lows and higher highs, which is bullish technical price action. That move has now pushed shares of ABBV within range of triggering a near-term breakout trade. That trade will hit if ABBV manages to take out Wednesday's high of $53.25 to its 52-week high at $54.13 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in ABBV as long as it's trending above some near-term support levels at $50 or at $49 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 5.2 million shares. If that breakout hits soon, then ABBV will set up to enter new 52-week-high territory, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that breakout are $60 to $62.

NewLink Genetics

NewLink Genetics (NLNK) is focused on discovering, developing and commercializing immunotherapeutic products to improve cancer treatment options for patients and physicians. This stock closed up 2.2% at $21.60 in Wednesday's trading session.

Wednesday's Volume: 370,000

Three-Month Average Volume: 206,997

Volume % Change: 105%

From a technical perspective, NLNK spiked modestly higher here right above some near-term support at $20.07 with above-average volume. This move is starting to push shares of NLNK within range of triggering a major breakout trade. That trade will hit if NLNK can manage to take out some near-term overhead resistance levels at $22.86 to its all-time high at $23.67 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in NLNK as long as it's trending above some near-term support levels at $20.07 or above $19.50 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that's near or above 206,997 shares. If that breakout hits soon, then NLNK will set up to enter new all-time-high territory, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that breakout are $28 to $30.

Children's Place Retail Stores

Children's Place Retail Stores (PLCE) operates as a specialty retailer of apparel and accessories for children. This stock closed up 4.3% at $54.96 in Wednesday's trading session.

Wednesday's Volume: 993,000

Three-Month Average Volume: 426,089

Volume % Change: 113%

From a technical perspective, PLCE spiked sharply higher here right off its 50-day moving average of $53.82 with above-average volume. This stock has been trending sideways and consolidating for the last month and change, with shares moving between $50.74 on the downside and $56.44 on the upside. Shares of PLCE are quickly moving within range of triggering a near-term breakout trade above the upper-end of its recent sideways trading chart pattern. That trade will hit if PCLE manages to take out Wednesday's high of $55.67, and then once it takes out some more near-term overhead resistance levels at $56.13 to $56.44 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in PLCE as long as it's trending above its 50-day at $53.82 or above its 200-day at $52.34 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that's near or above 426,089 shares. If that breakout hits soon, then PLCE will set up to re-test or possibly take out its 52-week high at $58.89. Any high-volume move above that level will then give PLCE a chance to tag its next major overhead resistance level at $62.24.

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.