Stock Quotes in this Article: ESRX, NUAN, REXX, ROSE, VRSK

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.”

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.

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With that in mind, let's take a look at several stocks rising on unusual volume today.

Express Scripts

Express Scripts (ESRX) provides a range of pharmacy benefit management services in North America. This stock is trading up 8% at $60.60 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 11.5 million

Average Volume: 5.5 million

Volume % Change: 286%

From a technical perspective, ESRX is gapping up sharply higher here with monster volume, and it’s started to enter breakout territory since the stock has taken out some overhead resistance levels at $59.50 to $58.98.

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Traders should now look for long-biased trades once ESRX triggers its next major breakout trade. That trade will hit once ESRX takes out its 2011 high of $60.89 with high volume. At last check, ESRX has hit an intraday high of $60.85 and volume is well above its three-month average action of 5,484,210 shares. Traders should look for a sustained move or close above 60.89 with volume that’s near or above 5,484,210 shares. If we get that action soon, then look for ESRX to hit $65 to $70 in the near future.

As of the most recently reported period, Express Scripts was one of Lee Ainslie's Maverick Capital holdings and also showed up in Third Point's portfolio.

MYR Group

MYR Group (MYRG) is a specialty contractor serving the electrical infrastructure market in the U.S. This stock is trading up 7.1% at $18.30 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 381,000

Average Volume: 173,603

Volume % Change: 408%

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From a technical perspective, MYRG is ripping higher here back above its 200-day moving average of $17.91 with heavy volume. This stock has also started to challenge some previous overhead resistance levels at $17.63 to $18.32. At last check, MYRG has hit an intraday high of $19.11 and volume is well above its three-month average of 173,603 shares.

Traders should now look for long-biased trade in MYRG as long as it’s trending above its 200-day, and then once it takes out today’s high of $19.11 with high volume. Look for a sustained move or close above $19.11 with volume that’s near or above 173,603 shares. If we get that action soon, then look for MYRG to hit $22 in the near future.

Rex Energy

Rex Energy (REXX) is an independent oil and gas company operating in the Appalachian Basin and Illinois Basin. In the Appalachian Basin, the company is focused on its Marcellus Shale drilling projects and Utica Shale and Upper Devonian Shale exploration activities. This stock is trading up 6.4% at $13.30 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 1.7 million

Average Volume: 992,636

Volume % Change: 208%

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From a technical perspective, REXX is bouncing strong here with heavy volume right near some previous support levels at $12.50 to $12. This move has pushed REXX into breakout territory, since the stock has started to move above some near-term overhead resistance at $13.25.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades as long as REXX is trending above $12.80 to $13.25 with high volume. Look for volume that’s near or above its three-month average action of 992,636 shares. If REXX can manage to hold its breakout above $13.25, then this stock will have a great chance of re-testing and possibly taking out its next major overhead resistance levels at $15 to $15.89.

Nuance Communications

Nuance Communications (NUAN) is a provider of voice and language solutions for businesses and consumers around the world. This stock is trading up 6.3% at $23.00 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 5.8 million

Average Volume: 3.9 million

Volume % Change: 144%

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From a technical perspective, NUAN is bouncing hard here right off its 50-day moving average of $21.56 with monster volume. This move is quickly pushing NUAN within range of triggering a near-term breakout trade. That trade will hit once NUAN clears some overhead resistance at $24 and its 200-day moving average of $24.44 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades once NUAN sustains a move or close above those levels with volume that’s near or above 3,938,040 shares. If we get that action soon, then NUAN will have a great chance of re-testing and possibly taking out its next major overhead resistance levels at $25.88 to $26.85.

Advent Software

Advent Software (ADVS) offers software and services that automate work flows and data across investment management organizations, as well as the information flows between an investment management organization and external parties. This stock is trading up 4% at $23.08 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 255,000

Average Volume: 165,728

Volume % Change: 129%

From a technical perspective, ADVS is spiking higher here with above average volume. This move is coming after ADVS was recently hammered by the sellers from over $28 to $20.86. That large selloff came with heavy volume, and it pushed ADVS into oversold territory since the stock’s relative strength index reading hit below 30.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades if ADVS can manage to clear some near-term overhead resistance at $23.50 with high volume. Look for a sustained move or close above $23.50 with volume that’s near or above 165,728 shares. If we get that action soon, then look for ADVS to possibly re-test its 200-day moving average of $26.09.

Rosetta Resources

Rosetta Resources (ROSE) is an independent exploration and production company engaged in the acquisition and development of onshore energy resources in the U.S. This stock is trading up 4% at $43.92 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 1.3 million

Average Volume: 1.25 million

Volume % Change: 58%

From a technical perspective, ROSE is spiking higher here with above average volume. This move is quickly pushing ROSE within range of triggering a major breakout trade. That trade will hit once ROSE takes out some near-term overhead resistance levels at $43.41 to $43.48, and then once it clears its 200-day moving average of $45.34 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades once ROSE sustains a move or close above those levels with volume that’s near or above its three-month average volume of 1.25 million shares. If we get that breakout soon, then look for ROSE to re-test and possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $50 to $51.35.

Verisk Analytics

Verisk Analytics (VRSK) is a provider of information about risk to professionals in insurance, healthcare, mortgage, government, supply chain, and risk management. This stock is trading up 4.6% at $49.35 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 928,000

Average Volume: 781,588

Volume % Change: 53%

From a technical perspective, VRSK is soaring higher here back above its 50-day moving average of $48.72 with above average volume. This move is quickly pushing VRSK within range of triggering a major breakout trade. That trade will hit once VRSK takes out some near-term overhead resistance levels at $50.96 to $51 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in VRSK as long as its trending above its 50-day, and then once it sustains a move or close above $50.96 to $51 with volume that’s near or above 781,588 shares. If we get that action soon, then look for VRSK to trade up towards $55 to $60.

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.