Stock Quotes in this Article: DVN, DXCM, SAVE, RPXC, ALDW

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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Alon USA Partners LP

Alon USA Partners LP (ALDW) owns and operates refining and petroleum products marketing business. It refines crude oil into finished products and market in West Texas, Central Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Arizona. This stock is trading up 2.5% at $25.44 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 538,000

Average Volume: 317,861

Volume % Change: 191%

Shares of ALDW are trending higher in front of its earnings report, which is set to be released on May 8 after the market close.

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From a technical perspective, ALDW is spiking higher here back above its 50-day moving average at $25.43 with above-average volume. This move is quickly pushing shares of ALDW within range of triggering a near-term breakout trade. That trade will hit if ALDW manages to take out some near-term overhead resistance at $26.68 to $26.88 with high volume. At last check, ALDW his hit an intraday high of $26.85 and volume is well above its three-month average action of 317,861 shares.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in ALDW as long as it’s trending above its 50-day at $25.43 or above today’s low of $24.36 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 317,861 shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then ALDW will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $27.95 to $29.

DexCom

DexCom (DXCM) designs, develops and commercializes continuous glucose monitoring systems for ambulatory use by people with diabetes and for use by health care providers in the hospital for the treatment of both diabetic and non-diabetic patients. This stock is trading up 4.4% at $17.14 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 1 million

Average Volume: 371,379

Volume % Change: 330%

Shares of DXCM are trending higher today in front of its earnings report, which is due out after the market close.

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From a technical perspective, DXCM is ripping higher here right off its 50-day moving average of $15.96 with above-average volume. This move is quickly pushing shares of DXCM within range of triggering a major breakout trade. That trade will hit if DXCM manages to take out its 52-week high at $17.62 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in DXCM after its earnings report if this stock can sustain a move or close above its 52-week high at $17.62 with volume that hits near or above 371,379 shares. If that breakout triggers, then DXCM will set up to enter new 52-week-high territory, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that breakout are $20 to $22.

RPX Corp

RPX Corp (RPXC) provides a subscription-based patent risk management solution that facilitates more efficient exchanges of value between owners and users of patents compared with transactions driven by actual or threatened litigation. This stock is trading up 8% at $14.49 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 795,000

Average Volume: 295,879

Volume % Change: 357%

Shares of RPXC are moving higher today after the company delivered a profit and missed Wall Street expectations, but beat the revenue expectations. Revenue rose 39.57% to $61.2 million from the year-earlier period.

From a technical perspective, RPXC is gapping sharply higher here right off its 50-day moving average at $13.35 with heavy upside volume. This move has started to push shares of RPXC into breakout territory, since the stock has cleared some near-term overhead resistance levels at $14.14 to $14.42. At last check, RPXC has hit an intraday high of $15.11 and volume is well above its three-month average action of 295,879 shares.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in RPXC as long as it’s trending above today’s low of $13.85 and then once it sustains a move or close above $14.42 to $15.11 with volume that hits near or above 295,879 shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then RPXC will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $15.52 to $17.75.

Spirit Airlines

Spirit Airlines (SAVE) provides passenger airline service principally to and from south Florida, the Caribbean and Latin America. This stock is trading up 2.8% at $27.47 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 1.21 million

Average Volume: 611,457

Volume % Change: 199%

Shares of SAVE are trending higher today after the company delivered a profit and beat Wall Street’s expectations, and beat the revenue expectation. Revenue jumped 22.85% to $370.4 million from the year-earlier period.

From a technical perspective, SAVE is bouncing higher here and breaking out to new all-time highs above some near-term overhead resistance levels at $26.84 to $26.87 with heavy upside volume. At last check, SAVE has hit an intraday high of $28.32 and volume is well above its three-month average action of 611,457 shares.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in SAVE as long as it’s trending above today’s low of $26.64 and then once it sustains a move or close above $26.87 to $28.32 with volume that hits near or above 611,457 shares. If SAVE can maintain this move, then this stock will set up to trend well north of $30 in the near future.

Devon Energy

Devon Energy (DVN) is an independent energy company engaged mainly in the exploration, development and production of oil, natural gas and NGLs. This stock is trading up 1.7% at $56.02 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 5.19 million

Average Volume: 3.83 million

Volume % Change: 146%

Shares of DVN are moving higher today after the CEO said tax changes will allow the repatriation of $2 billion of foreign cash. The CEO said the company will use repatriated cash to pay back short-term borrowings.

From a technical perspective, DVN is bouncing higher here right off its 50-day moving average of $54.99 and is flirting with its 200-day at $56.37 with above-average volume. At last check, DVN has hit an intraday high of $57.16 and volume is well above its three-month average action of 3.83 million shares. This move is starting to push shares of DVN within range of triggering a major breakout trade. That trade will hit if DVN can manage to take out some near-term overhead resistance levels at $58 to $58.53 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in DVN as long as it’s trending above $56.69 or above its 50-day at $54.99 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 3.83 million shares. If DVN triggers that breakout, then this stock will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $61.58 to $62.54.

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.