Stock Quotes in this Article: CAKE, IACI, IPXL, JCOM, RNF

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.

J2 Global

J2 Global (JCOM) provides cloud services, including online fax, virtual phone systems, hosted e-mail, e-mail marketing, online backup and customer relationship management. This stock is trading up 9.4% at $28.72 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 1.25 million

Average Volume: 413,333

Volume % Change: 492%

Shares of JCOM are exploding higher today after the company said it expects to report adjusted second-quarter earnings of between 68 cents and 71 cents per share, compared with Wall Street estimates of 63 cents per share.

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From a technical perspective, JCOM is gapping up huge here back above its 200-day moving average of $27.47 with heavy volume.

Traders should now look to play the next major breakout trade for JCOM once this stock takes out its daily high with volume. At last check, JCOM has hit an intraday high of $29.40. A high-volume move or close over $29.40 should set this stock up to re-test and possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels $30.99 to $31.37.

I would consider any upside volume day that registers near or above 413,333 shares as bullish. If we get that action soon, then JCOM could take those resistance levels out and test its 2011 high of $32.44.

Impax Laboratories

Impax Laboratories (IPXL) is a specialty pharmaceutical company. Impax Laboratories is engaged in development, manufacture and marketing of bio-equivalent pharmaceutical products, referred to as generics, in addition to the development of branded products. This stock is trading up 3.6% at $20.55 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 520,000

Average Volume: 479,825

Volume % Change: 116%

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From a technical perspective, IPXL is bouncing hard right off some near-term support at $19.50 with above average volume. This move is quickly pushing the stock within range of triggering a near-term breakout trade. That trade will hit once IPXL takes out some near-term overheard resistance at $20.80, and then once it clears both its 200-day at $20.99 and its 50-day at $21.17 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades once IPXL sustains a move or close above all those levels with volume that’s near or above 479,825 shares. At last check, IPXL has hit an intraday high of $20.85 and volume is tracking in above its three-month average action of 479,825 shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then IPXL could easily re-test and possibly take out its next significant overhead resistance levels at $22.36 to $23.23.

Hi-Tech Pharmacal

Hi-Tech Pharmacal (HITK) is a specialty manufacturer and marketer of prescription, over-the-counter and nutritional products. It develops, manufactures and markets products in three categories: generics, prescription brands and OTC brands. This stock is trading up 8.3% at $31.72 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 138,000

Average Volume: 93,608

Volume % Change: 148%

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From a technical perspective, HITK is ripping back above its 50-day moving average of $30.23 here with above average volume. Whenever any stock makes a powerful move with heavy volume above a key moving average, then it should be considered bullish technical price action. This move today is quickly pushing HITK within range of triggering a near-term breakout trade. That trade will hit once HITK takes out some near-term overhead resistance at $33.21 with high volume.

Traders should now look for a long-biased trade as long as HITK is trending above its 50-day and once it takes out $33.21 with volume. Look for a sustained move or close above $33.21 with volume that’s near or above 93,608 shares. If we get that action soon, then look for HITK to re-test and possibly take out its 200-day moving average of $35.20.

Cheesecake Factory

Cheesecake Factory (CAKE) is engaged in the restaurant and bakery businesses. This stock is trading up 1.6% at $32.38 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 738,000

Average Volume: 999,570

Volume % Change: 50%

Shares of CAKE are moving modestly higher here after Goldman Sachs upgraded the stock to neutral from sell. The firm said the restaurant chain’s same-store sale trend has held up better than its peers, and that earnings may be boosted by lower food costs.

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From a technical perspective, CAKE is gapping up here and breaking out above some near-term overhead resistance levels at $32 to $32.18 with decent volume. This move is quickly pushing the stock within range of triggering another major breakout trade. That trade will hit once CAKE takes out some near-term overhead resistance levels at $33 to $33.30, and then once it clears its 2011 high of $34.07 with high volume.

Traders should look for long-biased trades once CAKE sustains a move or close above those levels with volume that’s near or above 999,570 shares. Keep in mind that CAKE is due to report earnings on July 25, so either play for the breakout and run-up prior to its report, or wait until after earnings to play the breakout.

Bank of the Ozarks

Bank of the Ozarks (OZRK) operates as a bank holding company that provides various retail and commercial banking services. This stock is trading up 1.9% at $33.64 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 156,000

Average Volume: 191,330

Volume % Change: 56%

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From a technical perspective, OZRK is moving modestly higher here right off some near-term support at $33 with decent volume. This stock recently triggered a major breakout trade once it cleared some overhead resistance levels at $30.94 to $31.99 with huge volume. Since triggering that breakout, shares of OZRK have continued to trend higher and hit a 52-week high just a few hours ago of $33.97.

If this stock can continue to trend above today’s low of $32.97, and more importantly above that recent breakout level if $31.99 with strong upside volume flows, then it could be on its way to hitting $35 to $40. I would consider any upside volume day that registers near or above 191,330 shares as bullish.

OZRK, one of 20 Smaller Stocks With Growing Dividends, was also featured last week in "7 Dividend Stocks Paying You More Cash."

IAC/InterActiveCorp

IAC/InterActiveCorp (IACI) is an Internet company with more than 50 diversified Internet businesses across more than 30 countries. This stock is trading up 2.4% at $47.71 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 1.9 million

Average Volume: 1 million

Volume % Change: 265%

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From a technical perspective, IACI is following-through with some buying interest here after the stock closed above its 50-day moving average of $46.04 on Friday. Today’s move is coming on extremely heavy volume, and it’s quickly pushing IACI within range of triggering a major near-term breakout trade. That trade will hit once IACI takes out some near-term overhead resistance at $47.96 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades once IACI sustains a move or close over $47.96 with volume that’s near or above 1 million shares. At last check, IACI has hit an intraday high of $47.82 and volume is already hit above 1.9 million shares traded. If that breakout triggers soon, then IACI could easily trend back toward its next major overhead resistance levels at $49 to $52.65.

As o the most recently reported period, IACI was one of Chase Coleman's Tiger Global Management holdings.

Rentech Nitrogen Partners LP

Rentech Nitrogen Partners LP (RNF) is a provider of clean energy solutions and nitrogen fertilizer, to own, operate and grow its nitrogen fertilizer business. This stock is trading up 4.3% at $30.28 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 675,000

Average Volume: 341,022

Volume % Change: 281%.

From a technical perspective, RNF is ripping to the upside here with heavy volume. This move has already pushed RNF into breakout territory, since the stock has moved above some near-term overhead resistance at $29.49.

Traders should now look for the next major breakout trade to trigger for RNF if it can manage to take out its all-time high of $30.39 with high-volume. At last check, RNF has hit an intraday high of $30.68 and volume is well above its three-month average action of 341,022 shares. Traders should now look for long-biased trades if RNF can sustain a move or close above $30.39 to $30.68 with volume that’s near or above 341,022 shares. If we get that action soon, then RNF could easily trade up towards $35 or higher 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.