Stock Quotes in this Article: AAPL, AZPN, SFLY, SOHU, ELLI

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. Many times when above average volume moves into 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.

Apple

Apple (AAPL) is engaged in designing, manufacturing and marketing mobile communication and media devices, personal computers, and portable digital music players. This stock is trading up 4.8% at $660.80 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 10 million

Average Volume: 14.3 million

Volume % Change: 55%

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From a technical perspective, AAPL is rebounding today after the stock sold off sharply yesterday from an all-time high print of $674.88. At last check, AAPL has hit an intraday low of $648.11 and volume is tracking in just 4 million shares below its three-month average volume of 14.3 million shares.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades as long as AAPL can hold its trend above today’s low of $648.11 with strong upside volume flows. I would consider any upside volume day that registers near or above 14,277,900 shares as bullish. If AAPL can hold that trend, then this stock has a great chance of re-testing and taking out its all-time high of $674.88 very soon. A possible near-term target for AAPL if it takes out that all-time high with volume is $700 to $720.

Apple shows up on a recent list of 4 Tech Stocks Set to Shine.

Ellie Mae

Ellie Mae (ELLI) hosts an electronic mortgage origination networks in the U.S. This stock is trading up 6.2% at $25.43 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 808,000

Average Volume: 500,234

Volume % Change: 380%

Shares of ELLI are ramping higher today after ThinkEquity said it expects the company to continue to benefit from a number of current trends and it reiterated its $30 price target and buy rating on the stock.

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From a technical perspective, ELLI is ripping to the upside here after the stock briefly traded below some near-term support at $24.61. Volume so far today is tracking in strong and well above its average daily action.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades if ELLI can manage to hold a trend above today’s low of $23.58 with strong upside volume flows. I would consider any upside volume day that registers near or above 500,234 shares as bullish. If ELLI can hold that trend, then this stock has a great chance of re-testing and possibly taking out its recent high of $29.49.

On the flipside, if ELLI breaks below today’s low with volume, then it will likely re-test its 50-day moving average of $20.44. Traders should look to buy ELLI anywhere near its 50-day, since the stock has held that level for over six months.

Azpen Technology

Azpen Technology (AZPN) is a provider of process optimization software solutions, which are designed to manage and optimize plant and process design, operational performance, and supply chain planning. This stock is trading up 2% at $24.20 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 686,000

Average Volume: 504,042

Volume % Change: 165%

Shares of AZPN are moving notably higher today after Cowen noted the company’s strong revenue and free cash flow, solid execution, and potential in an under-penetrated opportunity in the manufacturing/supply chain business. Cowen also noted its likelihood as a takeover candidate and reasonable valuation.

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From a technical perspective, AZPN is ripping higher here right off some near-term support at $23.50 with above average volume. This move has pushed AZPN into breakout territory, since the stock has taken out some near-term overhead resistance at $23.94. This spike has also pushed AZPN to a new 52-week high of $24.92. At last check, AZPN has hit an intraday high of $24.92 but it has since then pulled back to around $24.20.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades as long as AZPN can maintain a trend above today’s low of $23.44 with strong upside volume flows. I would consider any upside volume day that registers near or above 504,042 shares as bullish. If AZPN can hold that trend, then this stock a decent chance of hitting $30 in the near future. Keep in mind that APZN also has a ton of previous support at around $22.

As of the most recently reported quarter, Azpen was one of George Soros' holdings.

Shutterfly

Shutterfly (SFLY) is an Internet-based social expression and personal publishing service that enables consumers to share, print and preserve their memories its technology, manufacturing, Web-design and merchandising capabilities. This stock is trading up 1.5% at $31.12 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 810,000

Average Volume: 914,202

Volume % Change: 99%

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From a technical perspective, SFLY is bouncing here right off its 50-day moving average of $30.55 with decent volume. That bounce has briefly pushed SFLY above some near-term overhead resistance at $32. At last check, SFLY has hit an intraday high of $32.25 but it has subsequently pulled back to around $31.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades as long as SFLY can hold a trend above its 50-day, and once it breaks out today’s high of $32.25 with high volume. Look for a sustained move or close above $32.25 with volume that’s near or above 914,202 shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then look for SFLY to re-test and possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $33.74 to $34.28.

Sohu.com

Sohu.com (SOHU) is a Chinese online media, search, gaming, community and mobile service group. The company operates matrices of Chinese language Web properties, and it operates multi-player online games and Web-based games in the People’s Republic of China. This stock is trading up 5.4% at $41.99 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 799,000

Average Volume: 737,588

Volume % Change: 66%

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From a technical perspective, SOHU is ripping here right off its 50-day moving average of $39.33 with above average volume. This move is quickly pushing SOHU within range of triggering a near-term breakout trade. That trade will hit once SOHU clears some overhead resistance levels at $42.81 to $44.99 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in SOHU as long as its trending above its 50-day, and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that’s near or above 737,588 shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then look for SOHU to re-test and possibly take out its 200-day moving average of $48.28 in the near future.

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 stocks, options, futures, commodities and currencies. He is also an outside contributor to Beconequity.com and maintains the website Maddmoney.net, which he sold to Blue Wave Advisors in 2008. Roberto studied International Business at The Milwaukee School of Engineering, and he spent a year overseas studying business in Lubeck, Germany.