Stock Quotes in this Article: AAPL, ALKS, IGTE, LIFE, NUVA, FLDM, GRPO

 WINDERMERE, Fla. (Stockpickr) -- Professional traders that run 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 an 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.”

>>5 Earnings Stocks Set for a Squeeze

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.

 

Life Technologies

Life Technologies (LIFE) is a global life sciences company. The stock is trading up 3.5% at $48.99 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 5.6 million

Average Volume: 1.98 million

Volume % Change: 319%

From a technical standpoint, LIFE is gapping up big today on very high volume. At last check, LIFE hit a daily high of $50.83, which is very close to a key overhead resistance level at $51.79. The relative strength index (RSI) reading for LIFE is at 73, which indicates an overbought stock. That said, overbought can get move overbought, so watch how LIFE closes today to determine your next trade.

Market players should watch for the next breakout trade to trigger on LIFE once it takes out $51.79 with volume. Look for volume that’s well above 1.98 million shares if we get that action soon.

Life is one of the top holdings at John Paulson's Paulson & Co.

Alkermes

Alkermes (ALKS) is engaged in the business of developing, manufacturing and commercializing medicines for the treatment of prevalent, chronic diseases. The stock is trading up 5.5% at $18.94 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 1.7 million

Average Volume: 810,814

Volume % Change: 241%

Shares of ALKS are ripping higher today after MKM Partners upgraded the stock from neutral to buy.

From a technical standpoint, ALKS has started to trigger a big breakout trade today now that this stock is moving above some near-term overhead resistance at $18.73 on monster volume. Traders should now watch for a sustained high-volume move or close over $18.73 to signal that ALKS wants to trend much higher.

If we get that strong close today, then look for ALKS to make a run at its next significant overhead resistance level of $20 on the near future. The volume is already there, so just look for a close over $18.73 and near the daily highs.

Gen-Probe

Gen-Probe (GPRO) is engaged in the development, manufacture and marketing molecular diagnostic products and services, which are used to diagnose human diseases, screen donated human blood, and ensure transplant compatibility. This stock is trading up 5.1% at $66.67 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 804,000

Average Volume: 344,782

Volume % Change: 232%

From a technical standpoint, GPRO has triggered a major breakout today now that this stock has cleared some near-term overhead resistance at $64.22 on heavy volume. Traders should now watch for a sustained high-volume move or close of $64.22 to signal that this stock wants to trend significantly higher.

The volume is already strong today, so look for GPRO to close over $64.22 and near its daily highs of $67.56. If we get a strong close, then look for long biased trades since the next significant overhead resistance level on GPRO is at $70 and then $71.87.

Apple

Apple (AAPL) is trading up 6.2% at $446.66 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 27 million
Average Volume: 12.6 million

Volume % Change: 228%

Shares of AAPL are soaring today after the company reported blowout earnings on Wednesday night after the market close.

From a technical standpoint, AAPL is gapping up big today on monster volume. This large gap up in price has broken the stock out above some near-term overhead resistance at $426.70, and it has pushed the stock into all-time high territory.

That said, the stock has sold off most of the day and the relative strength index (RSI) reading is 71.72. Any reading over 70 is considered overbought for any stock. Traders should now look to play either the next breakout over today’s high of $455.45 with volume, or short AAPL for a gap fill play if it drops back below today’s low of $443.73 with volume.

Apple shows up on recent lists of the Top 10 Stocks of the Past Decade and 16 Stocks Picked by Prize-Winning Fund Managers. It was also featured recently in "5 Tech Sector Stocks Funds Love."

NuVasive

NuVasive (NUVA) is a medical device company that focuses on developing minimally disruptive surgical products and procedures for the spine. This stock is trading up 9.2% at $14.95 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 912,000

Average Volume: 815,336

Volume % Change: 88%

Shares of NUVA are soaring today after an analyst at Canaccord Genuity said the company was a “top quality asset at a rock bottom price.” Canaccord upgraded the stock to buy and slapped a $19 price target on the shares.

From a technical standpoint, NUVA is starting to trigger a big breakout trade today now that this stock has started to move above some near-term overhead resistance levels at $14.56 to $14.66 on decent volume. Market players should now watch for a sustained high-volume move or close above those levels to signal that NUVA wants to trend significantly higher. Look for volume that’s near or well above 815,336 shares.

>>5 Breakout Stocks to Eye for a Buy

If we get that action soon, then I would look for long-biased trades, and I would get more aggressive once $15.30 is also taken out with volume. Target a run up towards $18.22 or much higher once $15.30 is taken out.

iGate

iGate (IGTE), through its operating subsidiaries, provides information technology and IT-enabled operations offshore outsourcing services to large and medium-sized organizations. This stock is trading up 9.4% at $18.12 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 299,000

Average Volume: 195,037

Volume % Change: 122%

Shares of IGTE are ripping to the upside today after the company beat Wall Street earnings estimates by 1 cent and guided revenues in-line with estimates.

From a technical standpoint, IGTE has started to trigger a major breakout trade today now that this stock is clearing some past overhead resistance levels at $16.76 to $16.78 on solid volume. At last check, this stock has also broken out above some more overhead resistance at $17.39 since shares are trading right below $18.

Traders should now watch for a sustained high-volume move or close over $17.39 to signal that this stock wants to trend much higher. If we get that action today, then look for IGTE to make a run at its next significant overhead resistance levels near $19 to $19.50.

iGate shows up on a recent list of 9 IT Services Stocks With Upside.

Fluidigm

Fluidigm (FLDM) develops, manufactures, and markets integrated fluidic circuit systems. The stock is trading up 7.88% at $14.92 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 504,000

Average Volume: 92,902

Volume % Change: 627%

From a technical standpoint, FLDM has started to flirt with a major breakout today since the stock briefly traded above some past overhead resistance at $14.95 to $15 on monster volume. Traders should now watch for a sustained high-volume move or close over $15 and near the daily highs of $15.41 to signal that this stock wants to break out and trend much higher.

A potential upside target if we get that action is $16.50 to $18 in the near future.

To see more stocks rising on unusual volume, including Dendreon (DNDN), NII Holdings (NIHD) and Cepheid (CPHD), check out the Stocks Rising On Unusual Volume portfolio on Stockpickr.

-- Written by Roberto Pedone in Winderemere, Fla.

RELATED LINKS:

>>5 Rocket Stocks to Buy This Earnings Season
>>7 Stocks at New 52-Week Highs

>>5 Technical Setups to Trade This Week

Follow Stockpickr on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.

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.