Stock Quotes in this Article: ANN, APKT, JCP, MOV, PZZA, SRPT, RXN, PDCE

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. Often when above-average volume moves into an equity, it precedes a large spike in volatility.

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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.

Ann (ANN)

This is a national specialty retailer of women's apparel, shoes and accessories sold mainly under the 'Ann Taylor' and 'LOFT' brands. This stock is trading up 7.7% at $34.94 in recent trading.

Today's Volume: 2.42 million

Average Volume: 1.04 million

Volume % Change: 280%

Shares of ANN are soaring today after the company said its net income jumped 26% in the fiscal third quarter on better sales at both Ann Taylor and Ann Taylor Loft stores.

From a technical perspective, ANN is ripping higher here right off some previous support at $32.38 with above-average volume. This move is quickly pushing ANN within range of triggering a near-term breakout trade. That trade will hit once ANN manages to take out its 50-day at $35.63 and then once it clears some more overhead resistance at $36.29 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in ANN once it manages to sustain a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 1.04 million shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then ANN will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $38.04 to $39.78. Any move above $39.78 will then push ANN into new 52-week high territory, which is bullish technical price action.

PDC Energy (PDCE)

This company is a domestic independent exploration and production company that acquires, develops, explores, and produces natural gas, NGLs, and crude oil. This stock is trading up 6% at $34.38 in recent trading.

Today's Volume: 913,000

Average Volume: 440,600

Volume % Change: 234%

From a technical perspective, PDCE is ripping higher here right off its 50-day moving average of $30.95 with above-average volume. This move has started to push PDCE into breakout territory, since the stock has taken out some near-term overhead resistance levels at $34.15 to $34.25. At last check, PDCE has hit an intraday high of $34.60. Shares of PDCE are now moving within range of another major breakout trade. That trade will hit once it manages to take out some past overhead resistance at $36.03 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in PDCE as long as it's trending above its 50-day at $30.95, and then once it sustains a move or close above $34.25 to $36.03 with volume that hits near or above 440,600 shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then PDCE will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $38 to $40.

J.C. Penny (JCP)

This is a holding company, whose business consists of selling merchandise and services to consumers through its department stores and direct channels. This stock is trading up 4% at $18.25 in recent trading.

Today's Volume: 13.29 million

Average Volume: 9.04 million

Volume % Change: 125%

Shares of JCP are trending up today after Streetinsider.com said the company is reported to have had strong sales on Black Friday.

From a technical perspective, JCP is moving higher here right above some near-term support at $17 with heavy upside volume. This move has started to push JCP into breakout territory, since the stock is moving above some near-term overhead resistance at $17.93. This action is also coming off oversold conditions, since JCP's current relative strength index (RSI) reading is 35.76. Oversold can always get more oversold, but it's also a condition that can produce powerful bounces to the upside once buyers move in.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in JCP as long as it's trending above $17.93 with strong upside volume flows. I would consider any upside volume day that registers near or above 9.04 million shares as bullish. If JCP can maintain that trend, then this stock has the chance to see a powerful bounce back towards its 50-day moving average of $23.10.

Rexnord (RXN)

This is a worldwide industrial company comprised of two strategic platforms: Process & Motion Control and Water Management. This stock is trading up 2.5% at $21.21 in recent trading.

Today's Volume: 480,000

Average Volume: 249,239

Volume % Change: 206%

Shares of RXN are trending up today after the company reported a net sales increase of 11% from the prior year second quarter to $500 million.

From a technical perspective, RXN is bouncing higher here right off some near-term support at $20.50 with above-average volume. This stock has been uptrending very strong for the last two months, with shares moving from a low of $16.38 to its recent high of $21.50. During that uptrend, shares of RXN have been consistently making higher lows and higher highs, which is bullish technical price action. That move has now pushed RXN within range of triggering a major breakout trade. That trade will hit once the stock manages to take out some past overhead resistance levels at $21.58 to $22.83 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in RXN as long as it's trending above $21.58, and then once it sustains a move or close above $22.60 to $22.83 with volume that hits near or above 249,239 shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then RXN will enter new all-time high territory once it takes out $22.83. Some possible upside targets off that move are $25 to $28 in the near future.

Sarepta Therapeutics (SRPT)

This company is focused on developing RNA-based therapeutics to improve and save the lives of people affected by serious and life-threatening rare and infectious diseases. This stock is trading up 3% at $29.62 in recent trading.

Today's Volume: 3.52 million

Average Volume: 2.64 million

Volume % Change: 113%

From a technical perspective, SRPT is spiking higher here with above-average volume. This stock has been uptrending strongly for the past month, with shares soaring from a low of $21.95 to its recent high of $31.87. During that uptrend, shares of SRPT have been consistently making higher lows and higher highs, which is bullish technical price action. That move has now pushed SPRT within range of triggering a near-term breakout trade. That trade will hit once SPRT manages to take out some near-term overhead resistance at $31.87 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in SRPT as long as it's trending near or above $27.50, and then once it sustains a move or close above $31.87 with volume that hits near or above 2.64 million shares. You could even give SRPT room down to its 50-day at $24.37 for longer-term swing trades. If that breakout triggers soon, then SRPT will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $35.05 to just below $37.50.

Acme Packet (APKT)

This company provides session delivery networks, enables secure, reliable delivery of next-generation voice, video and unified communications over IP networks. This stock is trading up 3% at $20.58 in recent trading.

Today's Volume: 3.02 million

Average Volume: 1.95 million

Volume % Change: 107%

From a technical perspective, APKT is trending up here right above some near-term support at $19 with strong upside volume flows. This move is quickly pushing APKT within range of triggering a near-term breakout trade. That trade will hit once APKT manages to take out some near-term overhead resistance levels at its 200-day at $21.74 and then once it clears more overhead resistance at $22.41 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in APKT as long as it's trending near or above $19, and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 1.95 million shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then APKT will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $25 to $26.

Papa John's International (PZZA)

This company operates and franchises pizza delivery and carryout restaurants and, in certain international markets, dine-in and restaurant-based delivery restaurants. This stock is trading up 2% at $52.43 in recent trading.

Today's Volume: 143,000

Average Volume: 114,258

Volume % Change: 89%

From a technical perspective, PZZA is moving modestly higher here back above its 50-day moving average of $51.66 with above-average volume. This move is quickly pushing PZZA within range of triggering a near-term breakout trade. That trade will hit once PZZA manages to take out some near-term overhead resistance levels at $54 to $54.67 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in PZZA as long as it's trending above its 50-day at $51.66, and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 114,258 shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then PZZA will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance level at $56.41. Any move above $56.41 would then push PZZA into new 52-week high territory, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that move are $60 to $65.

Movado Group (MOV)

This company designs, sources, markets and distributes fine watches. This stock is trading up 8.5% at $34.97 in recent trading.

Today's Volume: 334,000

Average Volume: 216,313

Volume % Change: 173%

Shares of MOV are soaring higher today after the company said its third quarter income jumped sharply. The firm also raised its fiscal year guidance.

From a technical perspective, MOV is gapping up sharply here back above its 50-day moving average of $32.57 with above-average volume. This move has also pushed MOV into breakout territory, since the stock has challenged some near-term overhead resistance levels at $33.70 to $34.90. At last check, MOV has hit an intraday high of $35.50 and volume is well above its three-month average action of 216.313 shares. Shares of MOV hare now moving within range of triggering another major breakout trade. That trade will hit once the stock manages to clear some past overhead resistance levels at $36.86 to $37.31 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in MOV as long as it's trending above $33.70 to $34.90, and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 216.313 shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then MOV will set up to enter new 52-week high territory above $37.31, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that move are $40 to $45.

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 technical analysis for small- and large-cap stocks, options, futures, commodities and currencies. Roberto studied international business at the Milwaukee School of Engineering, and he spent a year overseas studying business in Lubeck, Germany. His work has appeared on financial outlets including CNBC.com and Forbes.com. You can follow Pedone on Twitter at www.twitter.com/zerosum24 or @zerosum24.