Stock Quotes in this Article: DXYN, JCP, STSA, TITN

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 Under $10 Set to Soar

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 Insiders Love Right Now

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

Sterling Financial

Sterling Financial (STSA) is engaged in the business of purchasing, managing and collecting portfolios of defaulted consumer receivables, as well as offering accounts receivable management and payment services. This stock closed up 2% to $26.84 in Thursday's trading session.

Thursday's Volume: 589,000

Three-Month Average Volume: 188,505

Volume % Change: 201%

>>5 Big Trades for a September Bounce

From a technical perspective, STSA bounced modestly higher here right above its 50-day moving average of $25.61 with above-average volume. This move is quickly pushing shares of STSA within range of triggering a big breakout trade. That trade will hit if STSA manages to take out some near-term overhead resistance levels at $27.47 to its 52-week high at $27.57 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in STSA as long as it's trending above its 50-day at $25.61 or above more near-term support at $25, and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 188,505 shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then STSA will set up to enter new 52-week-high territory, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that breakout are $30 to $32.50.

Dixie Group

Dixie Group (DXYN) markets, manufactures and sells carpet and rugs to high-end residential and commercial customers through its various sales forces and brands. This stock closed up 10.9% at $11.48 in Thursday's trading session.

Thursday's Volume: 218,000

Three-Month Average Volume: 82,425

Volume % Change: 198%

>>5 Rocket Stocks to Buy in September

From a technical perspective, DXYN ripped sharply higher here right above some near-term support around $10 with strong upside volume. This stock has been trending sideways inside of a consolidation pattern for the last month, with shares trending between $10 on the downside and $12.05 on the upside. This consolidation pattern is occurring after a strong uptrend for shares of DXYN, which took the stock from $4.99 in March to $10 in August. This spike is now starting to push shares of DXYN within range of triggering a big breakout trade. That trade will hit if DXYN manages to take out Thursday's intraday high at $11.99 and then once it clears its 52-week high at $12.05 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in DXYN as long as it's trending above $11 or Thursday's low of $10.43, and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 82,425 shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then DXYN will set up to enter new 52-week-high territory, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that breakout are $15 to $16.

Titan Machinery

Titan Machinery (TITN) owns and operates a network of service agricultural and construction equipment stores in the U.S. and Europe. This stock closed up 3.1% to $17.65 in Thursday's trading session.

Thursday's Volume: 1.71 million

Three-Month Average Volume: 366,688

Volume % Change: 377%

>>3 Big Stocks on Traders' Radars

From a technical perspective, TITN ripped higher off its intraday low of $15.89 with heavy upside volume. Shares of TITN are now starting to move within range of triggering a near-term breakout trade. That trade will hit if TITN manages to take out some near-term overhead resistance at $18.60 and then once it takes out its 50-day at $18.91 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in TITN as long as it's trending above that low at $15.89 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 366,688 shares. If that breakout hits soon, then TITN will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $21 to its 200-day moving average at $23.43 a share.

J.C. Penney

J.C. Penney (JCP) sells merchandise and services to consumers through its department stores and direct channels. It offers products including family apparel and footwear, accessories, and fine and fashion jewelry. This stock closed up 5.3% at $14.22 in Thursday's trading session.

Thursday's Volume: 47.22 million

Three-Month Average Volume: 15.88 million

Volume % Change: 206%

>>3 Stocks Rising on Unusual Volume

From a technical perspective, JCP ripped higher here and broke out above some near-term overhead resistance levels at $13.90 to $13.99 with heavy upside volume. This move is starting to push shares of JCP within range of triggering another big breakout trade. That trade will hit if JCP manages to take out its 50-day moving average at $14.98 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in JCP as long as it's trending above Thursday's intraday low of $13.51 and then once it sustains a move or close above its 50-day at $14.98 with volume that hits near or above 15.88 million shares. If that breakout hits soon, then JCP will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $15.50 to $16.75. Any high-volume move above $16.75 will then put its next major overhead resistance levels at its 200-day of $17.10 to $17.80 into range for shares of JCP.

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:

>>5 Hated Earnings Stocks You Should Love
>>5 Foreign Stocks to Trade for Gains

>>5 Stocks Under $10 Making Big Moves

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.