Stock Quotes in this Article: GIL, LAZ, CLVS, NDLS

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 recently.

Clovis Oncology

Clovis Oncology (CLVS), a biopharmaceutical company, focuses on acquiring, developing and commercializing anti-cancer agents in the U.S., Europe and internationally. This stock closed up 4.9% at $77.50 in Wednesday's trading session.

Wednesday's Volume: 888,000

Three-Month Average Volume: 575,130

Volume % Change: 75%

From a technical perspective, CLVS bounced sharply higher here right off its 50-day moving average of $74.66 with above-average volume. This bounce is coming after CLVS briefly traded under its 50-day moving average and hit a recent low of $71.19. Shares of CLVS are now quickly moving within range of triggering a near-term breakout trade. That trade will hit if CLVS manages to take out some near-term overhead resistance at Wednesday's high of $80.74 to right around $82.50 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in CLVS as long as it's trending above Wednesday's low of $74.06 or above more near-term support at $71.19 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that this near or above 575,130 shares. If that breakout materializes soon, then CLVS will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $87.23 to its 52-week high at $93.33.

Gildan Activewear

Gildan Activewear (GIL) manufactures and sells apparel products in the U.S., Canada, Europe and the Asia-Pacific region. It operates in two segments, Printwear and Branded Apparel. This stock closed up 1.6% at $49.71 in Wednesday's trading session.

Wednesday's Volume: 865,000

Three-Month Average Volume: 259,795

Volume % Change: 283%

From a technical perspective, GIL trended modestly higher here right above some near-term support at $48.17 with above-average volume. This stock has been downtrending badly for the last three months, with shares falling from its high of $54.89 to its recent low of $48.17. During that downtrend, shares of GIL have been consistently making lower highs and lower lows, which is bearish technical price action. That said, shares of GIL are starting to get strong upside volume flows and the stock is moving within range of triggering a near-term breakout trade. That trade will hit if GIL manages to take out Wednesday's high of $49.94 to some more near-term overhead resistance at $50.34 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in GIL as long as it's trending above its recent low of $48.17 or above its 200-day at $47.57 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 259,795 shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then GIL will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at its 50-day moving average of $51.31 to $52.50, or even $54.

Noodles & Company

Noodles & Company (NDLS) develops and operates fast casual restaurants in the U.S. This stock closed up 4.2% at $41.35 in Wednesday's trading session.

Wednesday's Volume: 643,000

Three-Month Average Volume: 391,416

Volume % Change: 85%

From a technical perspective, NDLS ripped higher here and broke out above some near-term overhead resistance at $40.49 with above-average volume. This spike on Wednesday is quickly pushing shares of NDLS within range of triggering an even bigger breakout trade. That trade will hit if NDLS manages to take out Wednesday's high of $41.54 to some key past overhead resistance at $43.95 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in NDLS as long as it's trending above Wednesday's low of $39.47 or above $38 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that's near or above 391,416 shares. If that breakout hits soon, then NDLS will set up to re-fill some of its previous gap-down-day zone from last November that started just above $48.

Lazard

Lazard (LAZ), together with its subsidiaries, operates as a financial advisory and asset management firm. This stock closed up 1.3% at $46.74 in Wednesday's trading session.

Wednesday's Volume: 980,000

Three-Month Average Volume: 721,287

Volume % Change: 50%

From a technical perspective, LAZ spiked modestly higher here right above its 50-day moving average of $44.83 with above-average volume. This spike on Wednesday is starting to push shares of LAZ within range of triggering a big breakout trade. That trade will hit if LAZ manages to take out Wednesday's high of $47.68 to its 52-week high of $48.70 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in LAZ as long as it's trending above its 50-day at $44.83 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that's near or above 721,287 shares. If that breakout hits soon, then LAZ will set up to enter new 52-week-high territory, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that breakout are $50 to $55.

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.