Stock Quotes in this Article: AZO, FDO, GKSR, LQDT, MDCA, WNR

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.
 

 

G&K Services

G&K Services (GKSR) serves a variety of North American customers, enhancing their image and safety with work apparel and facility products and services. This stock is trading up 6% at $36.91 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 185,000

Average Volume: 94,598

Volume % Change: 173%

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Shares of GKSR are soaring today after the company declared a special cash dividend of $6 per share while also increasing its regular quarterly dividend by 50%.

From a technical perspective, GKSR is gapping up strong today on heavy volume, and it’s breaking out above some past overhead resistance levels at $35 to $36.06.

Traders should now look for long-biased traders in GKSR as long as this stock is trending above $36.06 with strong upside volume flows. The next major breakout will trigger once GKSR takes out today’s high of $38.65 with volume. Look for volume on a move over that level that’s near or above 94,598 shares.

MDC Partners

MDC Partners (MDCA) is a provider of marketing communications services to customers globally. This stock is trading up 4% at $10.88 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 333,000

Average Volume: 130,184

Volume % Change: 305%

From a technical perspective, MDCA is bouncing sharply today with heavy volume off of extremely oversold levels. The current relative strength index (RSI) reading for MDCA is 36.64, which indicates and oversold condition.

Traders should now look for long biased trades once MDCA takes out its daily high of $11.45 with strong upside volume flows. If we get that move, look for MDCA to make a run at $12 to $12.76 (its 50-day) in the very near future. I would consider it bullish for MDCA to close near its daily highs today if it doesn’t take it during the trading session.

One of the highest-yielding media stocks, MDC Partners shows up on a list of 12 Bargain Stocks With Insider Support.

Western Refining

Western Refining (WNR) is an independent crude oil refiner and marketer of refined products and also operates service stations and convenience stores. The stock is trading up 4.25% at $20.85 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 3 million

Average Volume: 2.55 million

Volume % Change: 251%

From a technical perspective, WNR is ripping higher today on heavy volume, and it’s just starting to trigger a major breakout trade. That breakout has triggered now that WNR is moving above some near-term overhead resistance at $20.30 with high volume.

Traders should continue to look for long-biased trades as long as WNR is trending above $20.30 with strong upside volume flows. The next major breakout for WNR will trigger once it takes out some past overhead resistance at $21.69 with high volume. Look for volume on that move that’s near or well above 2.55 million shares. If we get that move soon, look for WNR to trend up towards $25.

Family Dollar Stores

Family Dollar Stores (FDO) operates a chain of more than 7,000 general merchandise retail discount stores in 44 states, providing primarily consumers with a selection of merchandise in neighborhood stores. This stock is trading up 0.60% at $63.94 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 969,000

Average Volume: 1.45 million

Volume % Change: 88%

From a technical perspective, FDO advancing modestly higher today on decent volume and this stock is quickly moving within range of triggering a near-term breakout trade. That trade will hit once FDO takes out some near-term overhead resistance at $65.21 with high volume.

Traders should look for long-biased traders in FDO if it can sustain a move and close above $65.21 with volume that’s near or well above 1.45 million shares. If we get that action today or soon, look for FDO to start a march towards $70.

Family Dollar shows up on lists of Hedge Funds' Best Picks for 2012 and 18 Dividend Stocks That Will Outlive the Hype.

AutoZone

AutoZone (AZO) is a retailer and a distributor of automotive replacement parts and accessories. This stock is trading up 0.20% at $382.58 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 154,000

Average Volume: 385,900

Volume % Change: 50%

Shares of AZO are starting to move higher today after Goldman Sachs Group upgraded the stock from neutral to buy with a $435 price target due to higher commercial demand and strong operating leverage.

From a technical perspective, AZO is advancing modestly higher today on decent volume. This move is quickly pushing AZO within range of triggering a big near-term breakout trade. That trade will hit once AZO takes out some near-term overhead resistance at $385.58 to $386 with high-volume.

Traders should look for long biased traders once AZO sustains a move and close above those levels with volume that’s near or well above 385,900 shares. If we get that move today or soon, look for AZO to trend up towards $400.

AutoZone, one of Renaissance Technologies' holdings, shows up on a list of Consumer Discretionary Stocks Bought and Sold by Hedge Funds.

Liquidity Services

Liquidity Services (LQDT) is an auction marketplace for surplus and salvage assets. Liquidity Services enables buyers and sellers to transact in an automated online auction environment offering over 500 product categories. The stock is trading up 4.7% at $46.34 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 273,000

Average Volume: 423,049

Volume % Change: 58%

From a technical perspective, LQDT is ripping higher today on decent volume as it bounces off of some previous support at $44. This move is quickly pushing LQDT within range of triggering a major near-term breakout trade. That trade will hit once LQDT takes out some near-term overhead resistance at $48.34 with heavy volume.

Traders should look for long-biased trades if LQDT can sustain a move and close over $48.34 with volume that’s near or above 423,049 shares. If we get that action soon, look for LQDT to make a run at $50 or higher.

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.