Stock Quotes in this Article: CFX, EPL, NKA, TASR, RTRX

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.

Taser International

Taser International (TASR) engages in the development, manufacture and sale of conducted electrical weapons for use in law enforcement, federal, military, corrections, private security and personal defense markets worldwide. This stock closed up 5.7% at $18.08 in Tuesday's trading session.

Tuesday's Volume: 2.04 million

Three-Month Average Volume: 1.35 million

Volume % Change: 85%

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From a technical perspective TASR popped sharply higher here right above its 50-day moving average of $16.76 with above-average volume. This move pushed shares of TASR into breakout territory, since the stock took out some near-term overhead resistance at $17.52. Shares of TASR are now quickly moving within range of triggering an even bigger breakout trade. That trade will hit if TASR manages to take out some key overhead resistance levels at $18.60 to its 52-week high at $18.88 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in TASR as long as it's trending above its 50-day at $16.76 or above $16 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 1.35 million shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then TASR will set up to enter new 52-week-high territory, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that breakout are $23 to $25.

Retrophin

Retrophin (RTRX), a biopharmaceutical company, engages in the discovery, development and commercialization of orphan drugs for the treatment of rare and life-threatening diseases. This stock closed up 4.9% at $15.56 in Tuesday's trading session.

Tuesday's Volume: 404,000

Three-Month Average Volume: 205,542

Volume % Change: 292%

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From a technical perspective, RTRX trended notably higher here right above some near-term support at $14 with strong upside volume. This stock recently gapped up sharply higher from under $11 to $17.86 with monster upside volume. Following that move, shares of RTRX pulled back to $14 but now the stock looks ready to continue higher and trigger a near-term breakout trade. That trade will hit if RTRX manages to take out Tuesday's high of $16.52 to its 52-week high at $17.86 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in RTRX as long as it's trending above $14 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that's near or above 205,542 shares. If that breakout hits soon, then RTRX will set up to enter new 52-week-high territory, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that breakout are $22 to $25.

Colfax

Colfax (CFX), a diversified industrial manufacturing and engineering company, provides gas- and fluid-handling and fabrication technology products and services to commercial and governmental customers worldwide. This stock closed up 1.6% at $69.35 in Tuesday's trading session.

Tuesday's Volume: 1.94 million

Three-Month Average Volume: 505,990

Volume % Change: 311%

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From a technical perspective, CFX jumped modestly higher here right above some near-term support at $68 with strong upside volume. This stock has been uptrending strong for the last few weeks, with shares moving higher from its low of $58.30 to its recent high of $69.81. During that uptrend, shares of CFX have been consistently making higher lows and higher highs, which is bullish technical price action. That move has now pushed shares of CFX within range of triggering a near-term breakout trade. That trade will hit if CFX manages to take out Tuesday's high of $69.36 to its 52-week high at $69.81 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in CFX as long as it's trending above some near-term support at $68 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that's near or above 505,990 shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then CFX will set up to enter new 52-week-high territory, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that move are $75 to $80.

EPL Oil & Gas

EPL Oil & Gas (EPL) operates as an independent oil and natural gas exploration and production company. This stock closed up 9.2% at $29.99 in Tuesday's trading session.

Tuesday's Volume: 1.58 million

Three-Month Average Volume: 406,887

Volume % Change: 258%

From a technical perspective, EPL gapped up sharply higher here right off its 50-day moving average of $27.24 with above-average volume. This gap-up pushed the stock right below its 200-day moving average of $31.50, before shares of EPL sold off to close at $29.99. Market players should now look for a continuation move higher in the short-term if EPL can manage to clear its 200-day at $31.50 to more resistance at $31.64 with strong volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in EPL as long as it's trending above Tuesday's low of $29 or above $28 and then once it sustains a move or close above $31.50 to $31.64 with volume that's near or above 406,887 shares. If we get that move soon, then EPL will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $34 to $36.

Niska Gas Storage Partners

Niska Gas Storage Partners ( NKA) owns and operates natural gas storage assets in North America. This stock closed up 5.1% at $12.50 in Tuesday's trading session.

Tuesday's Volume: 367,000

Three-Month Average Volume: 105,693

Volume % Change: 476%

From a technical perspective, NKA jumped higher here right above its recent low of $11.30 with heavy upside volume. This stock recently plunged sharply lower from its high of $16.25 to its low of $11.30 with strong downside volume flows. That move pushed shares of NKA into oversold territory, since its current relative strength index reading is 32.77. Oversold can always get more oversold, but shares of NKA are already started to rebound off its recent low of $11.30.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in NKA as long as it's trending above its recent low of $11.30 and then once it sustains a move or close above Tuesday's high of $12.54 to $13 with volume that's near or above 105,693 shares. If we get that move soon, then NKA will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at its 200-day moving average of $14.23 to its 50-day moving average of $ 14.64.

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.