Stock Quotes in this Article: ALGN, APL, BGS, COF, VNR

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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Align Technology

Align Technology (ALGN) designs, manufactures and markets the Invisalign system, a method for treating the misalignment of teeth. This stock is trading up 5.9% at $31.93 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 2.04 million

Average Volume: 940,000

Volume % Change: 367%

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From a technical perspective, ALGN is ripping higher here back above its 200-day moving average at $31.58 with heavy upside volume. This move is quickly pushing shares of ALGN within range of triggering a near-term breakout trade. That trade will hit if ALGN manages to take out its 50-day at $32.21 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in ALGN as long as it’s trending above its 200-day at $31.58 or above $31 and then once it sustains a move or close above its 50-day at $32.21 with volume that hits near or above 940,000 shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then ALGN will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $33 to $33.84. Any high-volume move above $33.84 will then give ALGN a chance to re-fill some of its previous gap down zone from last October that started above $38.

Vanguard Natural Resources

Vanguard Natural Resources (VNR) focuses on the acquisition and development of mature, long-lived natural gas and oil properties in the U.S. This stock is trading up 3.8% at $28.81 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 823,000

Average Volume: 536,000

Volume % Change: 171%

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From a technical perspective, VNR is gapping higher here right above its 50-day moving average at $27.82 with above-average volume. This move has started to push shares of VNR into breakout territory, since the stock has cleared some near-term overhead resistance levels at $28.55 to $28.74. Shares of VNR are now quickly moving within range of triggering another breakout trade. That trade will hit if VNR manages to take out some more resistance at $29.01 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in VNR as long as it’s trending above $28.55 or today’s low at $28.18 and then once it sustains a move or close above $29.01 with volume that hits near or above 536,000 shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then VNR will set up to trend north of $30.

B&G Foods

B&G Foods (BGS) manufactures, sells and distributes shelf-stable food and household products, including taco shells, tortillas, refried beans, taco sauces, seasonings, dinner kits, peppers, salsas and related food products. This stock is trading up 6.6% at $29.98 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 823,000

Average Volume: 345,000

Volume % Change: 289%

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Shares of BGS are ripping higher here after the company said first-quarter net income jumped 17% on improved sales, including significant gains from its New York Style and Old London brands.

From a technical perspective, BGS is gapping sharply higher here back above both its 200-day at $28.97 and its 50-day at $29.66 with high volume. This move is quickly pushing shares of BGS within range of triggering a near-term breakout trade. That trade will hit if BGS manages to take out some near-term overhead resistance at $30.67 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in BGS as long as it’s trending above its 50-day at $29.66 or its 200-day at $28.97, and then once it sustains a move or close above $30.67 with volume that hits near or above 345,000 shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then BGS will set up to re-fill some of its previous gap down zone from February that started at $32.82.

Altlas Pipeline Partners

Altlas Pipeline Partners (APL) is a full-service midstream company providing reliable gas gathering, compression, processing and treating services to its customers. This stock is trading up 2% at $35.41 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 910,000

Average Volume: 571,000

Volume % Change: 142%

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From a technical perspective, APL is trending higher here right above some near-term support at $35 to $34.09 with above-average volume. This stock has been uptrending strong for the last month and change, with shares moving higher from its low of $32.14 to its recent high of $35.93. During that move, shares of APL have been mostly making higher lows and higher highs, which is bullish technical price action. That move has now pushed shares of APL within range of triggering a major breakout trade. That trade will hit if APL manages to take out some near-term overhead resistance at $35.50 to $35.93 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in APL as long as it’s trending above today’s low at $34.61 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 571,000 shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then APL will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance level at $37.70.

Capital One Financial

Capital One Financial (COF), with its banking and non-banking subsidiaries, markets a variety of financial products and services. This stock is trading up 6.3% at $56.12 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 9.19 million

Average Volume: 5.56 million

Volume % Change: 161%

Shares of COF are soaring higher here after the company posted a first-quarter profit that beat Wall Street analysts’ estimates on improved lending margins.

From a technical perspective, COF is gapping sharply higher here back above its 50-day moving average at $54.17 with heavy upside volume. This move is quickly pushing shares of COF within range of triggering a major breakout trade. That trade will hit if COF manages to take out some near-term overhead resistance at its 200-day moving average of $56.68 and then above some more resistance at $57.86 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in COF as long as it’s trending above its 50-day at $54.17 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 5.56 million shares. If that breakout hits soon, then COF will set up to re-fill some of its previous gap down zone from January that started near $62.

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.