Stock Quotes in this Article: APOG, ASTE, CONN, MLNX, POWI, SPRD, CHEF

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.

 

Apogee Enterprises

Apogee Enterprises (APOG) is engaged in the designing and development of value-added glass products, services and systems. This stock is trading up 5.4% at $15.92 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 330,000

Average Volume: 109,387

Volume % Change: 384%

From a technical perspective, APOG is ripping higher here on above average volume. This move has pushed APOG into near-term breakout territory with shares moving above some overhead resistance at $15.75.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades once the next major breakout trade triggers above its 2010 high of $16.12 with high volume. Watch for a move or close above $16.12 on volume that’s near or above 109,387 shares. If we get that action soon, then APOG could easily continue its uptrend momentum toward $20.

I also featured Apogee recently in "5 Stocks Insiders Love Right Now."

Conn’s

Conn’s (CONN) is a specialty retailer of consumer products, and also provides consumer finance for the purchase of the products that it offers. This stock is trading up 6.5% at $17.49 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 329,000

Average Volume: 266,562

Volume % Change: 109%

Shares of CONN are ripping higher today after SunTrust upgraded the stock to buy from neutral.

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From a technical perspective, CONN is gapping higher here after the stock recently found some buying interest right off its 50-day moving average of $15.98. Volume today is well above its three-month average action of 266,562 shares. This move has pushed CONN into breakout territory since shares are trending above some near-term overhead resistance at $17.24.

Traders should now consider long-biased trades if CONN can manage to close near its daily high of $17.80. If we get that action, then CONN could continue its uptrend momentum towards is April highs of $19.47 to $19.83.

Power Integrations

Power Integrations (POWI) designs, develops, manufactures and markets high-voltage, analog and mixed-signal integrated-circuit (IC) products and high-voltage silicon diodes. This stock is trading up 1.5% at $42.47 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 245,000

Average Volume: 229,975

Volume % Change: 81%

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From a technical perspective, POWI is moving modestly higher here as the stock follows through off its recent strength that saw it pop from $39 to $44.62 off a bullish earnings report.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades if POWI can trigger a major breakout trade above $44.62 to $45.76 with high volume. Look for volume off a sustained move or close above those levels that’s near or above 229,975 shares. If we get that action soon, then POWI could easily continue its uptrend momentum towards $50.

Astec Industries

Astec Industries (ASTE) designs, engineers, manufactures and markets equipment and components used primarily in road building, utility and related construction activities, as well as other products. This stock is trading up 2.5% at $29.50 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 132,000

Average Volume: 133,590

Volume % Change: 77%

Shares of ASTE are moving modestly higher today after an analyst at Sidoti upgraded the stock from neutral to buy.

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From a technical perspective, ASTE is bouncing here with decent volume off of oversold levels. This stock has dropped big in the last few months from $40.68 to today’s low of $28.60. That move has pushed the stock into oversold territory since its current relative strength index reading is 27.81. Oversold can always get more oversold, but this action today could be signaling that ASTE is ready for an upside rebound trade.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades if ASTE can move above $30 with heavy volume. Look for a sustained move or close above $30 on volume that’s near or above 133,590 shares. If we get that action today or soon, then look for ASTE to bounce big back toward its $32.25 or its 200-day moving average of $33.86. I would simply avoid this stock if it fails to sustain a trend above $30 with strong upside volume flows.

Mellanox Technologies

Mellanox Technologies (MLNX) is a fabless semiconductor company that produces and supplies interconnect products that facilitate data transmission between servers, storage systems and communications infrastructure equipment and other embedded systems. This stock is trading up 3.4% at $57.98 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 373,000

Average Volume: 390,997

Volume % Change: 52%

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From a technical perspective, MLNX is spiking higher here off some near-term support at $55 on decent volume. This move is quickly pushing MLNX within range of triggering a near-term breakout trade. That trade will hit once MLNX can take out some near-term overhead resistance levels at $59.40 to $60 with high-volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades off a sustained move or close over $59.40 to $60 with volume that’s near or above 390,997 shares. If we get that action today or soon, then MLNX could continue its upside momentum towards its April highs of $65 to $67.20. On the flipside, MLNX would be a short trade if it takes out $55 with high volume.

Chef's Warehouse

Chef's Warehouse (CHEF) is a distributor of specialty food products in the U.S. This stock is trading up 4.7% at $20.19 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 104,000

Average Volume: 93,483

Volume % Change: 50%

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From a technical perspective, CHEF is bouncing today after the stock recently plunged and gapped down from over $24 to a low of $18.40 on monster volume. That huge drop pushed CHEF back below its 50-day moving average of $22.53.

Traders should now only look for long-biased trades if CHEF can manage to close back above its 50-day with high volume. Look for a sustained move and close above $22.53 on volume that’s near or above 93,483 shares. If we get that action soon, then CHEF could trade up towards $24 to $25. On the flipside, I would look for short-biased traders if CHEF moves back below its near-term support at $18.40 with high volume.

Spreadtrum Communications

Spreadtrum Communications (SPRD) is a fabless semiconductor company that designs, develops and markets mobile chipset platforms for smartphones, feature phones and other consumer electronics products that support second generation (2G), third generation (3G) and fourth generation (4G) wireless communications standards. This stock is trading up 4.9% at $16.22 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 1.21 million

Average Volume: 1.23 million

Volume % Change: 54%

From a technical perspective, SPRD is moving sharply higher here after the stock recently gapped up back above its 50-day moving average of $15.07 on huge volume. This move is quickly pushing SPRD within range of a major breakout trade.

That trade will trigger once SPRD takes out $17.13 and then its 200-day moving average of $18.33 with high-volume. A sustained high-volume move or close above those levels should setup SPRD to trade into the low-to-mid-$20s.

On the flipside, I would avoid any long trades in SPRD if it closes back below its 50-day moving average of $15.07 with high-volume.

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.