Stock Quotes in this Article: ANN, ENV, FTK, LO, MSFT

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.

Microsoft

Microsoft (MSFT) is engaged in developing, manufacturing, licensing and supporting software products, services and entertainment, and device hardware products. This stock closed up 7.2% to $34.75 in Friday's trading session.

Friday's Volume: 225.49 million

Three-Month Average Volume: 47.95 million

Volume % Change: 401%

Shares of MSFT ripped to the upside on Friday after the market cheered the company's announcement that CEO Steven Ballmer will retire within the next 12 months.

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From a technical perspective, MSFT gapped sharply higher here back above its 50-day moving average of $33.09 with monster upside volume. This stock closed very strong, since shares finished the trading session very close to its intraday high of $35.20. Shares of MSFT are now quickly moving within range of triggering a near-term breakout trade. That trade will hit if MSFT manages to take out Friday's high of $35.20 and then its 52-week high at $36.43 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in MSFT as long as it's trending above Friday's low of $34 or above its 50-day at $33.09 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 47.95 million shares. If that breakout hits, then MSFT will set up to enter new 52-week-high territory, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that move are $40 to $43.

Ann

Ann (ANN) is a national specialty retailer of women's apparel, shoes and accessories sold mainly under the Ann Taylor and Loft brands. This stock closed up 5.1% at $34.31 in Friday's trading session.

Friday's Volume: 4.71 million

Three-Month Average Volume: 1.10 million

Volume % Change: 368%

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Shares of ANN jumped sharply higher on Friday after the company posted a stronger-than-expected 16% increase in second-quarter profits but narrowed its full-year revenue outlook. The company also approved a new 250 million stock buyback program.

From a technical perspective, ANN ripped higher here back above its 50-day moving average of $32.96 with heavy upside volume. This move is quickly pushing shares of ANN within range of triggering a major breakout trade. That trade will hit if ANN manages to take out some near-term overhead resistance levels at $34.77 to $35 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in ANN as long as it's trending above its 50-day at $32.96 or above Friday's low of $32.37 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 1.10 million shares. If that breakout hits soon, then ANN will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance level at its 52-week high of $39.78.

Lorillard

Lorillard (LO) is engaged in the manufacture of cigarettes and tobacco in the U.S. This stock closed up 2.1% at $43.39 in Friday's trading session.

Friday's Volume: 10.86 million

Three-Month Average Volume: 3.50 million

Volume % Change: 244%

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From a technical perspective, LO rose modestly higher here right above some near-term support at $41.56 with monster upside volume. This move is quickly pushing shares of LO within range of triggering a near-term breakout trade. That trade will hit if LO manages to take out some near-term overhead resistance at $43.75 to its 50-day moving average at $44.04 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in LO as long as it's trending above Friday's low of $42.52 or above that near-term support at $41.56 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that this near or above 3.50 million shares. If that breakout hits soon, then LO will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $46 to its 52-week high at $46.81. Any high-volume move above its 50-day will then put $50 into range for shares of LO.

Flotek Industries

Flotek Industries (FTK) engages in the research, development, design and supply of drilling and production related products and services in the U.S. and internationally. This stock closed up 4.6% at $20.10 in Friday's trading session.

Friday's Volume: 1.86 million

Three-Month Average Volume: 515,412

Volume % Change: 260%

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From a technical perspective, FTK gapped up sharply higher here right above its 50-day moving average of $18.94 with heavy upside volume. This stock has been uptrending strong for the last six months, with shares soaring higher from its low of 13.50 to its recent high of $20.75. During that uptrend, shares of FTK have been making mostly higher lows and higher highs, which is bullish technical price action. That move has now pushed shares of FTK within range of triggering a near-term breakout trade. That trade will hit if FTK manages to take out Friday's high of $20.70 to its 52-week high at $20.75 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in FTK as long as it's trending above its 50-day at $18.94 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 515,412 shares. If that breakout hits soon, then FTK will set up to enter new 52-week-high territory, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that breakout are $25 to $27.

Envestnet

Envestnet (ENV) provides integrated wealth management software and services to financial advisors and institutions in the U.S. This stock closed up 1.9% at $28.42 in Friday's trading session.

Friday's Volume: 374,000

Three-Month Average Volume: 254,017

Volume % Change: 80%

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From a technical perspective, ENV trended modestly higher here with decent upside volume. This stock has been uptrending strong for the last six months, with shares soaring higher from its low of $15 to its recent high of $29.10. During that move, shares of ENV have been consistently making higher lows and higher highs, which is bullish technical price action. That move has now pushed shares of ENV within range of triggering a major breakout trade. That trade will hit if ENV manages to take out its 52-week high at $29.10 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in ENV as long as it's trending above some near-term support at $27 or $26.50 and then once it sustains a move or close above its 52-week high at $29.10 with volume that's near or above 254,017 shares. If that breakout hits soon, then ENV will set up to enter new 52-week-high territory, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that breakout 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 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.