Stock Quotes in this Article: AZO, CBRL, CTRP, GHDX, GM, IPXL, XXIA, SAND

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.

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.

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

Cracker Barrel Old Country Store

Cracker Barrel Old Country Store (CBRL) is principally engaged in the operation and development of the Cracker Barrel Old Country Store concept. This stock is trading up 7% at $68.08 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 532,000

Average Volume: 150,094

Volume % Change: 627%

Shares of CBRL are soaring today after the company reported net income of $34.7 million, compared with $17.5 million from a year earlier. The company also announced that it plans to repurchase up to $100 million in stock.

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From a technical perspective, CBRL is gapping up strong here and breaking out above some near-term overhead resistance at $66.50 with above-average volume. At last check, CBRL has hit an intraday high of $69.30 and volume is well above its three-month average action of 150,094 shares.

Traders should continue to look for long-biased trades in CBRL as long as it’s trending above $66.50 with strong upside volume flows. I would consider any upside volume day that registers near or above 150,094 shares as bullish. If CRBL can maintain that trend, then I expect this stock to print new 52-week highs above $69.30 soon.

Ctrip.com International

Ctrip.com International (CTRP) is a travel service provider for hotel accommodations, airline tickets and packaged tours in China. This stock is trading up 5.8% at $18.64 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 8.3 million

Average Volume: 2.8 million

Volume % Change: 389%

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From a technical perspective, CTRP is trending higher here with monster volume. This stock has been uptrending strong for the past two months, with shares soaring from $12.36 to $18.95. During that run, shares of CTRP have consistently made higher lows and higher highs, which is bullish technical price action. That move has now pushed CTRP within range of triggering a near-term breakout trade. That trade will hit once CTRP clears $18.95 to $20.25 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in CTRP as long as it’s trending above $16.70, and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that’s near or above 2.8 million shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then CTRP will have a great chance of re-testing or possibly taking out its next major overhead resistance levels at $22 to $24.

AutoZone

AutoZone (AZO) is a retailer and a distributor of automotive replacement parts and accessories. This stock is trading up 4.6% at $374.56 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 1.4 million

Average Volume: 457,372

Volume % Change: 377%

Shares of AZO are ripping higher today after the company reported a better-than-expected profit for its fiscal fourth quarter.

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From a technical perspective, AZO is ramping higher here back above both its 50-day and 200-day moving averages with above-average volume. This move has also started to push AZO into breakout territory, since its taking out some near-term overhead resistance at $373.71.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in AZO as long as it’s trending above $367.81 to $373.71 with strong upside volume flows. Look for a sustained move or close above those levels with volume that registers near or above 457,372 shares. If AZO can maintain that trend, especially above the breakout level of $373.31, then this stock will have a great chance of re-testing or possibly taking out its next major overhead resistance levels at $381.91 to $387.82.

Sandstorm Gold

Sandstorm Gold (SAND) seeks to complete gold purchase agreements with gold mining companies that have advanced stage development projects or operating mines. This stock is trading up 9% at $12.32 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 537,000

Average Volume: 138,636

Volume % Change: 719%

Shares of SAND are soaring today after the company agreed to a $75 million long-term precious metal purchase transaction with Colossus Minerals.

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From a technical perspective, SAND is gapping up huge here with above-average volume, and it’s blasted into breakout territory with shares trending above some near-term overhead resistance at $11.19. This move has also pushed SAND into overbought territory, since its current relative strength index reading is now 82. Overbought can always get more overbought in the short-term for any stock.

With that in mind, traders should now look for long-biased trades in SAND as long as it’s trending above $11.50 with strong upside volume flows. I would consider any upside volume day that registers near or above 138,636 shares as bullish. If we continue to see SAND hold that trend, then this stock could hit $15 or higher in the near future.

Impax Laboratories

Impax Laboratories (IPXL) is a technology-based, specialty pharmaceutical company focused on the development and commercialization of bioequivalent and brand-name pharmaceuticals. This stock is trading up 4.7% at $26.01 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 816,000

Average Volume: 536,486

Volume % Change: 184%

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From a technical perspective, IPXL is ripping higher here above-average volume, and its trending into breakout territory above some near-term overhead resistance levels at $25.31 to $25.36. At last check, IPXL has hit an intraday high of $26.08 and volume is well above its three-month average action of 536,486 shares.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in IPXL as long as its trending above today’s low of $24.75 with strong upside volume flows. I would consider any upside volume day that registers near or above 536,486 shares as bullish. If IPXL can hold that trend, and especially hold its trend above those breakout levels, then this stock has a great chance of re-testing or taking out its next major overhead resistance levels at $27 to $28.75 in the near future.

Ixia

Ixia (XXIA) is a provider of converged IP test systems and services for wireless and wired infrastructures and services. This stock is trading up 4.9% at $16.27 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 856,000

Average Volume: 406,428

Volume % Change: 211%

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From a technical perspective, XXIA is trending higher here right off some near-term support at $15.50 with above-average volume. This move is quickly pushing XXIA within range of triggering a major breakout trade. That trade will hit once XXIA clears some past overhead resistance at $15.95 to $16.40 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in XXIA as long as it’s trending above its 50-day at $14.55, and then once it sustains a move or close above $15.95 to $16.40 with volume that’s near or above 406,428 shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then XXIA will have a great chance of re-testing or possibly taking out its next major overhead resistance levels at $17.18 to $19.10.

Genomic Health

Genomic Health (GHDX) is a molecular diagnostics company focused on the global development and commercialization of genomic-based clinical laboratory services that analyze the underlying biology of cancer allowing physicians and patients to make individualized treatment decisions. This stock is trading up 3.4% at $36.63 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 213,000

Average Volume: 157,455

Volume % Change: 118%

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From a technical perspective, GHDX is moving notably higher here with above-average volume. This move is quickly pushing GHDX within range of triggering a major breakout trade. That trade will hit once GHDX takes out some past overhead resistance levels at $36.81 to $37.44 with high volume. At last check, GHDX has hit an intraday high of $36.68 and volume is just staring to push above its three-month average action of 157,455 shares.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in GHDX as long as it’s trending above its 50-day at $34.22, and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that’s near or above 157,455 shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then GHDX will have a great chance of entering new 52-week-high territory and trading north of $40.

General Motors

General Motors (GM) designs, builds and sells cars, trucks and automobile parts worldwide. This stock is trading up 2.1% at $24.96 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 10.9 million

Average Volume: 8.3 million

Volume % Change: 121%

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From a technical perspective, GM is moving modestly higher here with above-average volume, and it’s stated to push into breakout territory since its moving above some past overhead resistance at $24.87. At last check, GM has hit an intraday high of $25.15 and volume has just started to clear its three-month average action of 8,252,850 shares.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in GM as long as its trending above today’s low of $24.32 with strong upside volume flows. I would consider any upside volume day that registers near or above 8,252,850 shares as bullish. If GM can hold that trend, and especially continue to trend above $24.87, then this stock has a great chance of re-testing or possibly taking out its next major overhead resistance at $27.03.

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.