Stock Quotes in this Article: ABMD, QCOM, QGEN, TSLA, TSRA, YNDX, Z

WINDERMERE, Fla. (Stockpickr) -- Professional traders who 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 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.”

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.

Let's take a look at a several stocks rising on unusual volume today. They are all recording volume in midday trading that is already at least 50% above their average trading volume for a full day.

 

Tesla Motors

Tesla Motors (TSLA) designs, develops, manufactures and sells electric vehicles and advanced electric vehicle powertrain components. It offers Tesla Roadster, an electric sports car. The stock is trading up 8% at $31.01 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 1,133,000

Average Volume: 1.01 million

Volume % Change: 204%

Tesla shares are jumping today after the company said revenue almost doubled as they sold 184 Roadsters, up 22% from a year ago.

From a technical standpoint, this stock is triggering a major breakout today on heavy volume. Shares of Tesla have punched through some overhead resistance at $30.44 a share. Market players should now watch for the stock to clear $31.50 to $32.86 a share on volume that’s well above the three-month average action of 1.01 million. If we see that move, then I expect this stock to challenge its 52-week high of $36.42.

Tesla is one of TheStreet Ratings' top-rated automobile stocks.

Zillow

Zillow (Z) is a real estate information marketplace that provides information about homes, real estate listings and mortgages through its Web site and mobile applications, enabling homeowners, buyers, sellers and renters to connect with real estate and mortgage professionals. The stock is trading up 6.3% at $29.19 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 212,000

Average Volume: 154,155

Volume % Change: 234%

This stock is soaring today after the company forecasted revenue for the year that exceeded Wall Street analysts’ estimates as it sold more subscriptions to real estate agents. Zillow guided sales for 2011 to come in at $63 million to $64 million, which is well above estimates of $61.7 million.

From a technical standpoint, this stock is starting to challenge its 50-day moving average of $29.59 today on strong volume. At one point in earlier trading, the stock hit $33.41, which triggered a breakout over some past overhead resistance at $31.83.

Traders should now watch for a sustained move and close above $31.83 to trigger that the stock wants to trend higher. If this stock closes well below the highs of the day today, then I would avoid this and consider the intraday breakout has failed move.

Qiagen

Qiagen (QGEN) is a holding company that provides technologies and products for preanalytical sample preparation and linked molecular assay solutions. The stock is trading up 5.8% at $13.75 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 2,281,000

Average Volume: 2.23 million

Volume % Change: 184%

This stock is soaring today after Qiagen said it expects faster sales growth in the second half of 2011 and in 2012.

From a technical standpoint, this stock is starting to challenge its 50-day moving average of $13.90 a share today on big volume. Market players should now watch for this stock to sustain a move and close above $13.90 to trigger a bigger trend higher. If we get that move, then look for a move back towards its 200-day moving average of $17.77.

Abiomed

Abiomed (ABMD) is a provider of medical devices in circulatory support and offers a continuum of care in heart recovery to acute heart failure patients. The stock is trading up 17% at $17 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 308,700

Average Volume: 235,995

Volume % Change: 258%

This stock is surging today after Abiomed beat Wall Street estimates by 11 cents and reaffirmed its 2012 guidance. The company said it sees 2012 revenues of $120 million to $125 million versus estimates of $121.44 million.

From a technical standpoint, this stock is now approaching a major breakout if it can sustain a move and close above some past overhead resistance at $17.37 a share. Market players should watch this stock in the coming days or weeks to see if we can get a high volume move above that breakout level. If we do get it, then look for this stock to re-test its 52-week highof $19.19.

Yandex

Yandex (YNDX) is a provider of internet services, headquartered in the Russian Federation. The company operates a search engine, yandex.ru. The stock is trading up 2% at $26.56 in recent trading

Today’s Volume: 1,166,859

Average Volume: 1.23 million

Volume % Change: 170%

It looks like this stock is catching a bid today ahead of the much-anticipated Groupon (GRPN) IPO, which is slated for tomorrow.

From a technical standpoint, this stock is starting to trade above its 50-day moving average of $26.31 on heavy volume, which is bullish Traders should now look to buy this move as long as the stock closes above the 50-day. One could then add to any long position once the stock breaks out above $29.34 on strong volume. Target a run back towards $32 a share or possibly even higher. Avoid this trade if the stock can maintain a move above the 50-day.

>>11 Stocks to Play the Groupon IPO

Qualcomm

Qualcomm (QCOM) designs, manufactures and markets digital wireless telecommunications products and services based on its code division multiple access technology and other technologies. The stock is trading up 3.5% at $55.72 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 22.7 million

Average Volume: 17.8 million

Volume % Change: 225%

This stock is trading higher today after the company issued first quarter 2012 guidance that was above analysts’ estimates and issued full-year 2012 guidance above analysts’ estimates

From a technical standpoint, this stock is breaking out today above some past overhead resistance of $54 to $55.03 on monster volume. The stock has also cleared its 200-day moving average of $53.81. If shares of Qualcomm can now sustain this move and close above those breakout levels, then look for the stock to challenge its next significant overhead resistance levels at $59.13 to $59.21 a share.

Qualcomm, one of Maverick Capital's holdings, shows up on a recent list of 3 Top 4G Stocks.

Tessera Technologies

Tessera Technologies (TSRA) develops, invests in, licenses and delivers miniaturization technologies and products for next-generation electronic devices through semiconductor packaging technologies, such as chip-scale packaging, multi-chip packaging, and wafer-level packaging; silicon-level interconnect and 3D packaging, and silent air cooling technology. The stock is trading up 4.6% at $14.47 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 323,000

Average Volume: 601,209

Volume % Change: 57%

This stock is trading higher today in front of its earnings report, which is slated for today after the market close.

From a technical standpoint, this just bounced off of its 50-day moving average of $13.41 and is now setting up to challenge a big breakout over some past overhead resistance at $14.89. Traders should wait until after this company reports its earnings, and then buy the stock if the breakout triggers on heavy volume. Look for volume that’s tracking in close to or above its three-month average action of 601,209 shares. A high volume move over $14.89 and its 200-day moving average of $16.13 should set this stock up to challenge $18 to $20 a share.

-- Written by Roberto Pedone in Winderemere, Fla.

RELATED LINKS:

>>5 Stocks With Big Insider Buying
>>5 Earnings Stocks Set to Soar

>>6 Gold & Silver Miners to Play the Eurozone Debt Crisis

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.