Stock Quotes in this Article: MCF, OSIR, PCLN, QUNR, ATHM

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.

Contango Oil & Gas

Contango Oil & Gas (MCF), an independent natural gas and oil company, explores, develops, produces and acquires natural gas and oil properties primarily offshore in the shallow waters of the Gulf of Mexico. This stock closed up 2.4% to $41.69 in Monday's trading session.

Monday's Volume: 407,000

Three-Month Average Volume: 121,294

Volume % Change: 275%

From a technical perspective, MCF jumped higher here back above its 50-day moving average of $41.11 with above-average volume. This move to the upside on Monday also pushed shares of MCF into breakout territory, since this stock took out some near-term overhead resistance at $41.54. Market players should now look for a continuation move to the upside in the short-term if MCF manages to clear Monday's intraday high of $41.73 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in MCF as long as it's trending above Monday's intraday low of $40.43 or above $40 and then once it sustains a move or close above $41.73 with volume that hits near or above 121,294 shares. If that move gets started soon, then MCF will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $43.50 to $44, or its 200-day moving average of $44.59. Any high-volume move above $44.59 will then give MCF a chance to tag $48 to $49.

Osiris Therapeutics

Osiris Therapeutics (OSIR), a stem cell company, focuses on the development and marketing products to treat medical conditions in wound care, orthopedic and sports medicine markets. This stock closed up 3.9% to $15.43 in Monday's trading session.

Monday's Volume: 577,000

Three-Month Average Volume: 188,014

Volume % Change: 252%

From a technical perspective, OSIR ripped higher here back above both its 200-day moving average of $15.20 and its 50-day moving average of $15.22 with strong upside volume flows. This stock has been uptrending a bit for the last month, with shares moving higher from its low of $13.53 to its recent high of $15.78. During that move, shares of OSIR have been consistently making higher lows and higher highs, which is bullish technical price action. This spike higher on Monday is quickly pushing shares of OSIR within range of triggering a near-term breakout trade. That trade will hit if OSIR manages to take out Monday's intraday high of $15.55 to some more near-term overhead resistance at $15.78 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in OSIR as long as it's trending above Monday's intraday low of $14.91 or above more near-term support at $14.62 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 188,014 shares. If that breakout hits soon, then OSIR will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $16.50 to $17, or $17.32 to $17.60.

Autohome

Autohome (ATHM) operates as an online destination for automobile consumers in the People's Republic of China. This stock closed up 2.8% at $39.90 in Monday's trading session.

Monday's Volume: 1.43 million

Three-Month Average Volume: 345,786

Volume % Change: 274%

From a technical perspective, ATHM jumped higher here with strong upside volume flows. This trend to the upside on Monday is starting to push shares of ATHM within range of triggering a big breakout trade. That trade will hit if ATMH manages to take out Friday's intraday high of $40.32 and then once it clears some more key overhead resistance levels at $42.48 to $42.68 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in ATHM as long as it's trending above $37 to $36.50 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 345,786 shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then ATHM will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $47 to $48, or even $50 to $52.

Priceline Group

Priceline Group (PCLN) operates as an online travel company. This stock closed up 2.1% to $1309.28 in Monday's trading session.

Monday's Volume: 2.04 million

Three-Month Average Volume: 767,626

Volume % Change: 183%

From a technical perspective, PCLN ripped notably higher here right off some near-term support at around $1275 with strong upside volume. This spike to the upside on Monday pushed shares of PCLN into breakout territory, since the stock took out some near-term overhead resistance levels at $1303.63 to $1307.09. Market players should now look for a continuation move to the upside in the near-term if PCLN manages to take out Monday's intraday high of $1329.90 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in PCLN as long as it's trending above $1300 or above $1290 and then once it sustains a move or close above $1329.90 with volume that hits near or above 767,626 shares. If that move starts soon, then PCLN will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $1350 to its 52-week high at $1378.96.

Qunar Cayman Islands

Qunar Cayman Islands (QUNR) operates online travel commerce platform for travel service providers and display advertisers in the People's Republic of China. This stock closed up 1.8% at $29.20 in Monday's trading session.

Monday's Volume: 1.63 million

Three-Month Average Volume: 660,662

Volume % Change: 173%

From a technical perspective, QUNR trended modestly higher here right above some near-term support at $28 with above-average volume. This move briefly pushed shares of QUNR into breakout territory, since the stock flirted with some near-term overhead resistance levels at $29.28 to $29.34. Shares of QUNR tagged an intraday high of $29.90, before closing just below that level at $29.20. Market players should now look for a continuation move to the upside in the short-term if QUNR manages to take out Monday's intraday high of $29.90 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in QUNR as long as it's trending above some near-term support levels at $28 or at $27.50 and then once it sustains a move or close above $29.90 with volume that this near or above 660,662 shares. If that move gets underway soon, then QUNR will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $31.20 to $31.35, or even $32.72 to $33.70.

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.