Stock Quotes in this Article: ETE, AMCX, PBYI, MLU, HPTX

MADISON, 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.

Major moves in volume can signal unusual activity, such as insider buying or selling -- or buying or selling by "superinvestors."

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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.

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

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Energy Transfer Equity

Energy Transfer Equity (ETE) owns and operates natural gas gathering systems, natural gas intrastate pipeline systems and gas processing plants. This stock closed up 0.7% at $59.10 on Friday.

Friday's Volume: 3.24 million

Average Volume: 786,976

Volume % Change: 420%

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From a technical perspective, ETE trended modestly higher here right above its 50-day moving average of $57.79 with heavy upside volume. This stock has been uptrending strong for the last two months, with shares moving higher from its low of $54.80 to its recent high of $62.50. During that move, shares of ETE have been mostly making higher lows and higher highs, which is bullish technical price action. This move is quickly pushing shares of ETE within range of triggering a near-term breakout trade. That trade will hit if ETE manages to take out some near-term overhead resistance levels at $59.50 to $60.50 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in ETE as long as it's trending above some key near-term support levels at $58.65 or its 50-day at $57.79 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 786,976 shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then ETE will set up to re-test or possibly take out its 52-week high at $62.50.

MetLife

MetLife (MLU) is a leading global provider of insurance, annuities and employee benefit programs, serving 90 million customers. This stock closed up 0.8% at $53.09 on Friday.

Friday's Volume: 661,000

Average Volume: 232,110

Volume % Change: 207%

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From a technical perspective, MLU trended modestly higher here and closed back above its 200-day moving average of $52.97 with above-average volume. This stock has been uptrending strong for the last month, with shares soaring higher from its low of $47.27 to its intraday high of $53.25. During that move, shares of MLU have been consistently making higher lows and higher highs, which is bullish technical price action.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in MLU as long as it's trending above Friday's low of $52.83 and then once it sustains a move or close above its 200-day at $52.97 with volume that hits near or above 232,110 shares. If MLU can sustain this move, then this stock will set up to re-fill some of its previous gap down zone from last October that started around $70. Some possible upside targets if MLU gets into that gap with volume are $56 to $60.

Puma Biotechnology

Puma Biotechnology (PBYI) is a development-stage biopharmaceutical company that acquires and develops innovative products for the treatment of various forms of cancer. This stock closed up 7.4% at $37.36 on Friday.

Friday's Volume: 297,000

Average Volume: 127,631

Volume % Change: 135%

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From a technical perspective, PBYI ripped higher here and broke out above some near-term overhead resistance at $36.70 with above-average volume. This move pushed PBYI into all-time high territory, after the stock hit an intraday high of $39.34.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in PBYI as long as it's trending above that key breakout level of $36.70 or above $34 and then once it sustains a move above its all-time high of $39.34 with volume that this near or above 127,631 shares. If we get that move soon, then PBYI will set up to enter new all-time-high territory above $39.34, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that move are $43 to $45.

Hyperion Therapeutics

Hyperion Therapeutics (HPTX) is a biopharmaceutical company focused on the development and commercialization of novel therapeutics to treat disorders in the areas of orphan diseases and hepatology. This stock closed up 0.01% at $ 22.33 on Friday.

Friday's Volume: 587,000

Average Volume: 110,785

Volume % Change: 120%

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From a technical perspective, HPTX finished up virtually flat after hitting an intraday high of $23.01 with above-average volume. This stock has been uptrending modestly for the last month, with shares moving higher from its low of $19.88 to its high of $23.01. During that move, shares of HPTX have been mostly making higher lows and higher highs, which is bullish technical price action. That move has now pushed shares of HPTX within range of triggering a near-term breakout trade, which will hit if HPTX manages to take out some near-term overhead resistance at $22.54 to its 50-day at $23.60 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in HPTX as long as it's trending above $22, and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 110,785 shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then HPTX will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $25 to $26. Any high-volume move above $26 will then give HPTX a chance to re-test its 52-week high at $26.50.

AMC Networks

AMC Networks (AMCX) owns and operates several of popular and award-winning brands in cable television. This stock closed up 0.9% to $66.44 on Friday.

Friday's Volume: 981,000

Average Volume: 629,992

Volume % Change: 80%

From a technical perspective, AMCX bounced modestly higher here right above some near-term support at $65.11 with above-average volume. This move is quickly pushing shares of AMCX within range of triggering a near-term breakout trade. That trade will hit if AMCX manages to take out some near-term overhead resistance levels at $66.92 to $67 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in AMCX as long as it's trending above $65.11 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 629,992 shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then AMCX will set up to re-test or possibly take out its 52-week high at $70.65.

To see more stocks rising on unusual volume, check out the Stocks Rising on Unusual Volume portfolio on Stockpickr.

-- Written by Roberto Pedone in Madison, Wis.

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At the time of publication, author had no positions in stocks mentioned.

Roberto Pedone, based out of Madison, 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.