Stock Quotes in this Article: ABTL, CTXS

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.

Super Micro Computer

Super Micro Computer (SMCI), together with its subsidiaries, develops and provides high-performance server solutions based on modular and open-standard architecture in the U.S. and internationally. This stock closed up 1.5% at $17.30 in Wednesday's trading session.

Wednesday's Volume: 542,000

Three-Month Average Volume: 183,581

Volume % Change: 230%

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From a technical perspective, SMCI jumped modestly higher here and broke out into new 52-week-high territory with above-average volume. This stock has been trending sideways and consolidating for the last month and change, with shares moving between $16.24 on the downside and $17.23 on the upside. Shares of SMCI could now be setting up for an extended move higher since the stock is taking out the upper-end of its recent range with strong volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in SMCI as long as it's trending above Wednesday's low of $17.02 or above $16.50 and then once it sustains a move or close above Wednesday's high of $17.44 to its three-year high of $18.89 with volume that's near or above 183,581 shares. If we get that move soon, then SMCI will set up to enter new 52-week-high territory, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that move are $23 to $25.

Citrix Systems

Citrix Systems (CTXS) provides cloud computing solutions that enable IT and service providers to build private and public clouds worldwide. This stock closed up 4.8% at $62.98 in Wednesday's trading session.

Wednesday's Volume: 5.36 million

Three-Month Average Volume: 2.88 million

Volume % Change: 175%

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From a technical perspective, CTXS ripped higher here right above its 50-day moving average of $59.49 with strong upside volume. This move is quickly pushing shares of CTXS within range of triggering a major breakout trade. That trade will hit if CTXS manages to take out some near-term overhead resistance levels at $63.44 to its 200-day moving average of $64.69 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in CTXS as long as it's trending above Wednesday's low of $60.11 or above its 50-day at $59.49 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that's near or above 2.88 million shares. If that breakout hits soon, then CTXS will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $70 to $74.

21Vianet Group

21Vianet Group (VNET) provides carrier-neutral Internet data center services in the People's Republic of China. This stock closed up 4.9% at $23.11 in Wednesday's trading session.

Wednesday's Volume: 1.29 million

Three-Month Average Volume: 681,600

Volume % Change: 125%

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From a technical perspective, VNET jumped notably higher here right above some near-term support at $21.59 with above-average volume. This move is quickly pushing shares of VNET within range of triggering a big breakout trade. That trade will hit if VNET manages to take out Wednesday's high of $23.20 to its all-time high at $23.70 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in VNET as long as it's trending above some near-term support at $21.59 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 681,600 shares. If that breakout hits soon, then VNET will set up to enter new all-time-high territory, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that move are $27 to $30.

Autobytel

Autobytel (ABTL) operates as an automotive marketing services company in the U.S. This stock closed up 3.6% at $17.05 in Wednesday's trading session.

Wednesday's Volume: 524,000

Three-Month Average Volume: 238,925

Volume % Change: 109%

From a technical perspective, ABTL jumped higher here and broke out into new 52-week-high territory with above-average volume. This stock has been uptrending tremendously strong for the last six months, with shares soaring higher from its low of $5 to its intraday high of $17.63. During that uptrend, shares of ABTL have been consistently making higher lows and higher highs, which is bullish technical price action. Market players should now look for a continuation move higher in the short-term if ABTL manages to take out Wednesday's high of $17.63 with strong volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in ABTL as long as it's trending above Wednesday's low of $16.50 or above $15 and then once it sustains a move or close above $17.63 with volume that hits near or above 238,925 shares. If we get that move soon, then ABTL will set up to enter new 52-week-high territory, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that move are $20 to $23.

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.