Stock Quotes in this Article: AMWD, JAZZ, NBIX, WX, XOOM

 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 today.

Neurocrine Biosciences

Neurocrine Biosciences (NBIX) discovers, develops and commercializes drugs for the treatment of neurological and endocrine-related diseases and disorders. This stock closed up 3.4% at $14.98 in Wednesday's trading session.

Wednesday's Volume: 1.19 million

Three-Month Average Volume: 570,184

Volume % Change: 115%

Shares of NBIX jumped higher on Wednesday after Cowen upgraded the stock to outperform from market perform based on the company's advanced drug candidates. The firm set a price target of $30 a share on NBIX.

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From a technical perspective, NBIX gapped higher here right above its 50-day moving average of $13.89 with strong upside volume. This stock flirted with some key breakout levels at $14.85 to its 52-week high at $15.06, before pulling back to close at $14.98.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in NBIX as long as it's trending above $14.50 and then once it sustains a move or close above its new 52-week high at $15.33 with volume that this near or above 570,184 shares. If we get that move soon, then NBIX will set up to enter new 52-week-high territory, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that move are $18 to $20.

Xoom

Xoom (XOOM) provides online consumer-to-consumer international money transfers in close to 30 countries. This stock closed up 2.8% at $28.99 in Wednesday's trading session.

Wednesday's Volume: 419,000

Three-Month Average Volume: 221,019

Volume % Change: 80%

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From a technical perspective, XOOM bounced higher here right above its 50-day moving average of $26.69 with decent upside volume. This stock recently pulled back from its all-time high of $36.46 to $27.10. During that downtrend, shares of XOOM were consistently making lower highs and lower lows, which is bearish technical price action. It now looks like the downside volatility could be over for XOOM as long as it holds that $27.10 low.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in XOOM as long as it's trending above $27.10 and then once it sustains a move or close above some near-term overhead resistance at $32.13 with volume that's near or above 221,019 shares. If we get that move soon, then XOOM will set up to re-test or possibly take out its all-time high at $36.46.

Jazz Pharmaceuticals

Jazz Pharmaceuticals (JAZZ) is a specialty pharmaceutical company focused on developing and commercializing innovative products to meet unmet medical needs in neurology and psychiatry. This stock closed up 2.4% at $83.60 in Wednesday's trading session.

Wednesday's Volume: 1.29 million

Three-Month Average Volume: 898,052

Volume % Change: 50%

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From a technical perspective, JAZZ bounced higher here right above some near-term support at $80 with decent upside volume. This move pushed shares of JAZZ into breakout and new 52-week high territory, since the stock took out some near-term overhead resistance at $83.06. At last check, JAZZ hit an intraday high of $85.08 and volume was notably above its three-month average action of 898,052 shares.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in JAZZ as long as it's trending above Wednesday's low of $81.50 or above $80 and then once it sustains a move or close above its new 52-week high at $85.08 with volume that's near or above 898,052 shares. If we get that move soon, then JAZZ will set up to enter new 52-week-high territory, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that breakout are $90 to $100.

WuXi PharmaTech

WuXi PharmaTech (WX) is a pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical device R&D outsourcing company, with operations in China and the U.S. This stock closed up 2.7% at $24.74 in Wednesday's trading session.

Wednesday's Volume: 415,000

Three-Month Average Volume: 324,141

Volume % Change: 50%

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From a technical perspective, WX bounced higher here right above some near-term support at $23.48 with decent upside volume. This stock has been uptrending strong for the last six months, with shares moving higher from its low of $15.73 to its recent high of $25. During that uptrend, shares of WX have been making mostly higher lows and higher highs, which is bullish technical price action. That move has now pushed shares of WX within range of triggering a near-term breakout trade. That trade will hit if WX manages to take out its 52-week high at $25 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in WX as long as it's trending above support at $23.48 or above more support at $23, and then once it sustains a move or close above its 52-week high at $25 with volume that's near or above 324,141 shares. If that breakout hits soon, then WX will set up to enter new 52-week-high territory, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that move are $30 to $32.

American Woodmark

American Woodmark (AMWD) manufactures and distributes kitchen cabinets and vanities for the remodeling and new home construction markets. This stock closed up 5.4% at $35.03 in Wednesday's trading session.

Wednesday's Volume: 299,000

Three-Month Average Volume: 130,258

Volume % Change: 153%

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From a technical perspective, AMWD bounced sharply higher here right above its 200-day moving average $31.99 with strong upside volume. During the last two months, this stock has been downtrending from its high of $39.49 to its low of $31.52. During that move, shares of AMWD have been making mostly lower highs and lower lows, which is bearish technical price action. That said, shares of AMWD might be ready to see that downside volatility cease since the stock has started to bounce off that $31.52 low and above its 200-day at $31.99.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in AMWD as long as it's trending above its 200-day at $31.99 or above that recent low of $31.52 and then once it sustains a move or close above its 50-day at $35.58 and above some more resistance at $36.30 with volume that's near or above 130,258 shares. If we get that move soon, then AMWD will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $38 to its 52-week high at $39.49.

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.