Stock Quotes in this Article: BPOP, JCP, MSG, SRPT, SSTK

WINDERMERE, Fla. (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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Sarepta Therapeutics

Sarepta Therapeutics (SRPT) is focused on developing RNA-based therapeutics to improve and save the lives of people affected by serious and life-threatening rare and infectious diseases. This stock is trading up 3.7% at $35.71 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 2.41 million

Average Volume: 1.43 million

Volume % Change: 174%

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From a technical perspective, SRPT is bouncing higher here right above some near-term support at $34 with above-average volume. This stock has been uptrending strong for the last three months, with shares moving higher from its low of $23.46 to its recent high of $37.70. During that move, shares of SRPT have been mostly making higher lows and higher highs, which is bullish technical price action. That move is starting to push shares of SRPT within range of triggering an ear-term breakout trade. That trade will hit if SRPT manages to clear some near-term overhead resistance levels at $37 to $37.70 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in SRPT as long as it’s trending above some key near-term support levels at $34 to $32.80, and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 1.43 million shares. If that breakout hits soon, then SRPT will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance level at $45.

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 is trading up 4% at $15.69 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 18.15 million

Average Volume: 13.24 million

Volume % Change: 165%

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From a technical perspective, JCP is trending higher above some near-term support at $14.10 with heavy upside volume. This stock recently put in a double-bottom chart pattern at $14.20 to $14.10, after the stock crashed from its high of $23.10. This bounce off that double-bottom area is starting to push shares of JCP within range of triggering a near-term breakout trade. That trade will hit if JCP manages to take out some near-term overhead resistance levels at $17 to $17.17 and then once it clears its 50-day at $17.71 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in JCP as long as it’s trending above that double bottom area at $14.20 to $14.10 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 13.24 million shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then JCP will set up to re-fill some of its previous gap down zone from February that started above $21.

Shutterstock

Shutterstock (SSTK) operates marketplace for commercial digital imagery. This stock is trading up 3.6% at $41.74 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 70,000

Average Volume: 67,590

Volume % Change: 51%

From a technical perspective, SSTK is spiking higher here right above some near-term support at $37.37 with above-average volume. This move is quickly pushing shares of SSTK within range of triggering a near-term breakout trade. That trade will hit if SSTK manages to take out some near-term overhead resistance levels at $44 to its 52-week high and all-time high at $45.21 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in SSTK as long as it’s trending above today’s low of $39.70 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 67,590 shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then SSTK will set up to enter new all-time high territory above $45.21, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that breakout are $50 to $55.

Madison Square Garden Company

Madison Square Garden Company (MSG) operates in the sports, entertainment and media businesses primarily in the U.S. This stock is trading up 0.5% at $56.30 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 395,000

Average Volume: 358,121

Volume % Change: 50%

From a technical perspective, MSG is bouncing higher here right off its 50-day moving average of $55.10 with above-average volume. This move is quickly pushing shares of MSG within range of triggering a major breakout trade. That trade will hit if MSG manages to take out some near-term overhead resistance at $58.07 to its 52-week high at $58.72 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in MSG as long as it’s trending above its 50-day at $55.10 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 358,121 shares. If that breakout hits soon, then MSG will set up to enter new 52-week high territory above $58.72, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that breakout are $60 to $65.

Popular

Popular (BPOP) is a publicly owned bank holding company that offers retail and commercial banking services through its main banking subsidiary, Banco Popular de Puerto Rico. This stock is trading up 2.7% to $28.10 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 1.15 million

Average Volume: 951,564

Volume % Change: 69%

From a technical perspective, BPOP is trending up here right above some near-term support at $26.60 with above-average volume. This stock is also starting to spike back above its 50-day moving average of $27.76, which is quickly pushing shares of BPOP within range of triggering a near-term breakout trade. That trade will hit if BPOP manages to take out some near-term overhead resistance levels at $29 to its 52-week high at $29.78 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in BPOP as long as it’s trending above today’s low of $26.95 or above its 50-day at $27.76 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 951,564 shares. If that breakout hits soon, then BPOP will set up to enter new 52-week-high territory above $29.78, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that move are $34 to $35.

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

-- Written by Roberto Pedone in Winderemere, Fla.

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

Roberto Pedone, based out of Windermere, Fla., 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.