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.”

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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    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.

     

    Cardtronics (CATM)

    This company provides automated consumer financial services through its network of automated teller machines and multi-function financial services kiosks. The stock is trading up 3.3% at $27.47 in recent trading.

    Today’s Volume: 885,000

    Average Volume: 342,681

    Volume % Change: 238%

    Shares of Cardtronics are ripping higher today after Credit Suisse said the company is well positioned for earnings and cash flow growth. Credit Suisse initiated coverage on the stock with an outperform rating and a price target of $31.

    From a technical standpoint, CATM is currently trading very close to a big breakout level of $28.74. Market players should watch this name to trigger that breakout if it can manage to clear $28.74 with high-volume. At last check, the stock hit $28.30 today and volume is already well above the average action at 885,000 shares traded. Look for long biased trades once CATM clears $28.74 with volume in the near future.

    OraSure Technologies (OSUR)

    This company is engaged in the development, manufacture, marketing and sale of oral fluid diagnostic products and specimen collection devices using its oral fluid technologies, as well as other diagnostic products, including immunoassays and other in-vitro diagnostic tests that are used on other specimen types, and other medical devices used for the removal of benign skin lesions by cryosurgery or freezing. The stock is trading up 4.1% at $11.28 in recent trading.

    Today’s Volume: 640,000

    Average Volume: 242,366

    Volume % Change: 246%

    From a technical standpoint, OSUR recently triggered a major breakout trade once the stock moved above $9.96 to $10.10 with monster volume. This move today in OSUR has now pushed the stock into 52-week high territory. Considering that the upside volume for OSUR has been huge the last two trading sessions, traders should continue to look for long biased trades as long as the stock contuse to trend above those breakout levels.

    Riverbed Technology (RVBD)

    This company has developed solutions to the fundamental problems associated with information technology performance across wide area networks. The stock is trading up 7.2% at $29.79 in recent trading.

    Today’s Volume: 4,300,000

    Average Volume: 3,336,850

    Volume % Change: 93%

    From a technical standpoint, RVBD is gapping higher today back above its 200-day moving average of $29.03 with monster volume. Market players should watch for a breakout trade to trigger once RVBD can clear some past overhead resistance at $30 with volume. A high-volume move above that level should set this stock up to trend back towards $34. Look for volume that’s near or well above 3.33 million shares.

    eBay (EBAY)

    This company brings together buyers and sellers every day on a local, national and international basis through a range of Web sites. This stock is trading up 3.66% at $31.45 in recent trading.

    Today’s Volume: 18,400,000

    Average Volume: 11,167,300

    Volume % Change: 123%

    Shares of EBAY are advancing smartly to the upside today after the company said its net income soared in the fourth quarter, in large part due to the sale of its remaining investment in Skype and continued success of PayPal.

    From a technical standpoint, EBAY is trading right near a big breakout level that will trigger once this stock takes out $32 with high-volume. At last check, the volume is huge today at 18.4 million shares traded so far, which is well above the average volume of 11.1 million shares. Traders should consider long biased trades once EBAY takes out $32 with volume. Target a run back towards $33.30 to $34.50 in the near future if that breakout level gets hit.

    Golar LNG (GLNG)

    This company is a mid-stream liquefied natural gas player engaged primarily in the transportation, regasification and liquefaction and trading of LNG. This stock is trading up 6.6% at $42.29 in recent trading.

    Today’s Volume: 922,000

    Average Volume: 642,379

    Volume % Change: 77%

    Shares of GLNG are soaring today after Dahlman Rose upgraded the stock to buy from hold.

    From a technical standpoint, GLNG recently sold off big from $47.82 to $39.60 on big volume in just a few trading sessions. This sharp drop has brought buyers back into the stock right around a previous support zone near $40. Market players should now watch for GNLG to trade back above its 50-day moving average of $42.74 with high-volume. Look for volume that’s near or above 642,379 shares on any future move above the 50-day. If we get that action, then look for long biased trades in GLNG.

    Broadcom (BRCM)

    This is a provider of semiconductor for wired and wireless communications. This stock is trading up 4.5% at $34.87 in recent trading.

    Today’s Volume: 15,300,000

    Average Volume: 8,890,410

    Volume % Change: 104%

    From a technical standpoint, BRCM has started to gap up back above its 200-day moving average of $33.80 today on monster volume. This stock has been extremely strong of late with shares trading up from its December low of $27.59 to its current price just under $35 on heavy volume. Market players should now look for long-biased trades in BRCM if this stock can manage to close above the 200-day and near its daily highs. If we get that action, I would look for long-biased trades and more upside for BRCM. Some targets are $36 to $38.25 if the uptrend continues.

    CME Group (CME)

    This company offers a range of products, including those based on interest rates, equities, foreign exchange, commodities, energy and metals. This stock is trading up 6.2% at $238.93 in recent trading.

    Today’s Volume: 1,200,000

    Average Volume: 712,776

    Volume % Change: 96%

    From a technical standpoint, CME has started to challenge and trade near two key technical levels today with big upside volume. The first level is some near-term overhead resistance at $239.89, and the second level is its 50-day moving average of $244.83. At last check, this stock has failed to stay above either level, but the volume is tracking in strong and well above its average action. Market players should now watch for CME to sustain a high-volume move and close back above $239.89 and $244.83 in the near future. If we get that action, then look for CME to spike big and challenge its next significant overhead resistance level at $249.52.

    NetApp (NTAP)

    This company is a provider of storage and data management solutions. This stock is trading up 7.9% at $37.42 in recent trading.

    Today’s Volume: 15,100,000

    Average Volume: 6,982,510

    Volume % Change: 156%

    From a technical standpoint, NTAP is gapping up big today with monster volume back above its 50-day moving average of $36.92. If NTAP can manage to close above $36.92 then traders should look for a breakout trade to trigger once the stock takes out some near-term overhead resistance at $37.44. At last check, NTAP briefly traded above $37.44 today and the volume is off the charts strong at over 15.1 million shares traded. Market player should now watch for a sustained high-volume move and close over $36.92 to $37.44 to trigger a run back towards $38.97, or potentially much higher in the near future. The huge upside volume today would indicate to me that a big spike higher is coming soon for this stock.

    To see more stocks rising on unusual volume like AMC Networks (AMCX), Zhongpin (HOGS) and Cree (CREE), 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.