Stock Quotes in this Article: AKAM, CHKP, CTAS, DMND, SATS, SHLD, TIBX

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 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.

Let's take a look at a number of 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.

EchoStar

EchoStar (SATS) engages in the design, development, and distribution of digital set-top boxes and related products for direct-to-home satellite and cable providers. The stock is trading up 4.1% at $21.19 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 154,000

Average Volume: 196,736

Volume % Change: 102%

From a technical standpoint, EchoStar looks like it might be forming a double bottom today since the stock has found support at $20.10, which coincides with the November low of $20.22. This potential double bottom has some validity since the volume for SATS today is very strong.

 

Traders should look for long biased trades in SATS from here as the stock should continue to trend back towards its 50-day moving average of $23.43 in the near future. If that level is reached, then look for a breakout trade to trigger once SATS takes out $23.75 on high volume.

Akamai Technologies

Akamai Technologies (AKAM) provides services for accelerating and improving the delivery of content and applications over the Internet, ranging from live and on-demand streaming video capabilities to conventional content on Web sites to tools that help people transact business and reach out to new and existing customers. The stock is trading up 18.7% at $31.67 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 15.5 million

Average Volume: 4.85 million

Volume % Change: 476%

Shares of AKAM are ripping today after the company announced that they are acquiring rival Contendo, a cloud computing service provider for $268 million.

From a technical standpoint, AKAM has started to trigger a monster breakout now that the stock is has moved above some past overhead resistance at $30.03 and $30.47 on huge volume.

Traders should watch for the next breakout trade to trigger for AKAM once the stock takes out $31.92 with high-volume. Watch for volume that’s near or above 4,845,480 shares.

Akamai shows up on a recent list of 10 Stocks for a Multi-Cap Portfolio.

Tibco Software

Tibco Software (TIBX) is an independent provider of middleware and infrastructure software. The stock is trading up 8.7% at $23.92 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 5 million

Average Volume: 3 million

Volume % Change: 221%

Shares of TIBX are soaring today after the company reported a 38% surge in its fiscal fourth quarter profit. Tibco also issued positive revenue guidance for the current quarter.

From a technical standpoint, TIBX is quickly approaching a near-term breakout if the stock can manage to sustain a high-volume move and close back above $24.64. Market players should watch for a move over $24.64 on volume that’s near or above 3,026,160 shares.

If we see that action, then look for TIBX to trade back towards its 50-day at $26.08 and its 200-day at $27.05.

Diamond Foods

Diamond Foods (DMND) is a packaged food company focused on building, acquiring and energizing brands. This stock is trading up 9.7% at $29.76 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 2.56 million

Average Volume: 2.1 million

Volume % Change: 103%

Shares of DMND are spiking large to the upside today as traders jump into this beaten-down stock to play the January Effect trades. Diamond Foods is down by over 44% in 2011.

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From a technical standpoint, DMND triggered a major breakout today once the stock took out $27.85 with high volume. As long as the stock can maintain a close today that’s near the highs of the day, then DMND should set up to trend back toward its next near-term resistance levels at $33 and $35.

Sears Holdings

Sears Holdings (SHLD) is the parent company of Kmart Holding Corporation (Kmart) and Sears, Roebuck and Co. (Sears). This stock is trading up 1.9% at $45.74 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 736,000

Average Volume: 753,891

Volume % Change: 67%

From a technical standpoint, SHLD is getting some love today off the January Effect since this stock s down over 37% in 2011. (For more on the January Effect, read "5 Beaten-Down Stocks That Could Rebound.") This stock has been one of the worst-performing stocks in the retail space. Shares of SHLD recently fell from $82.74 to a recent low of 43.99.

The next buy point for SHLD will trigger once the stock takes out $48 with volume. Look for volume on any move over $48 that tracks in near or above 753,891 shares.

Sears was also featured recently in "7 Extreme Stocks to Trade in This Volatile Market."

Check Point Software Technologies

Check Point Software Technologies (CHKP) develops technologies to secure communications and transactions over the Internet by enterprises and consumers. This stock is trading up 2.4% at $53.45 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 1.4 million

Average Volume: 1.9 million

Volume % Change: 50%

From a technical standpoint, CHKP started to flirt with a breakout trade when the stock was trending above near-term resistance at $54.83 and its 50-day moving average of $56.13.

That said, the stock has failed to hold above those levels and has at last check slid down towards $53.45. I would stay away from the long side in CHKP until this stock can get back above todays high of $56.70 with volume. Look for volume that’s near or above 1,938,990 shares.

Check Point, one of TheStreet Ratings' top-rated software stocks, is one of Renaissance Technologies' top holdings as of the most recently reported quarter.

Cintas

Cintas (CTAS) provides highly specialized products and services to businesses of all types throughout the North America, Latin America, Europe and Asia. This stock is trading up 2% at $34.87 in recent trading

Today’s Volume: 936,000

Average Volume: 1.3 million

Volume % Change: 67%

From a technical standpoint, CTAS gapped up yesterday on monster volume and broke out above a number of near-term overhead resistance levels. This stock has also just broken out above a double top zone from back in August at around $33.82 to $33.91.

Market players should continue to look for long biased trades in CTAS as long as the stock stays above those double top levels. That said, if we trade back below those levels on high-volume, then this stock could be a short candidate and gap fill candidate.

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.