Stock Quotes in this Article: AIXG, ALNY, CMCSA, CNMD, MASI, PMTI, CSOD, SKUL

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 several stocks rising on unusual volume today.

Alnylam Pharmaceuticals
Alnylam Pharmaceuticals (ALNY) is a biopharmaceutical company developing therapeutics based on ribonucleic acid interface. The stock is trading up 11.2% at $12.21 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 2.6 million

Average Volume: 357,645

Volume % Change: 912%

From a technical perspective, ALNY is bouncing huge off of some near-term support today at $10.97 on monster volume. This bounce has taken the stock up over 10% and so far shares are holding the gains.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in ALNY if this stock can manage to close near its daily highs. If we get that action, then look for ALNY to re-test its recent high of $13.25. Any future high-volume move over $13.25 would trigger the next major breakout for ANLY.

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Cornerstone OnDemand

Cornerstone OnDemand (CSOD) is a global provider of learning and talent management solution delivered as software-as-a-service. The stock is trading up 0.44% at $18.43 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 997,000

Average Volume: 264,034

Volume % Change: 501%

From a technical perspective, CSOD has started to flirt with a big breakout trade today once the stock moved above some past overhead resistance at $19 with heavy volume. That breakout has so far not been able to hold up, since the high of the day for CSOD was $19.50, but the stock is now trading near $18.40.

I would only look for long-biased trades in CSOD if this stock can maintain its gains above $19.

Masimo

Masimo (MASI) is a medical technology company that develops, manufactures, and markets non-invasive patient monitoring products that help clinicians improve patient care. The stock is trading up 3.8% at $22.42 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 1.4 million

Average Volume: 532,392

Volume % Change: 317%

From a technical perspective, MASI is getting very close to triggering a breakout trade if this stock can manage to take out some near-term overhead resistance levels soon. Those levels are at $22.89 and then its 200-day moving average of $24.09. The last bit of major overhead resistance for MASI sits at $25.02.

Traders should look for long-biased trades if MASI can take out all of those levels on a closing basis with volume. Look for volume that’s near or well above 532,392 shares.
Masimo shows up on a list of 7 Health Care Stocks for 2012.

Conmed

Conmed (CNMD) is a medical technology company with an emphasis on surgical devices and equipment for minimally invasive procedures and monitoring. This stock is trading up 2% at $30.02 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 354,000

Average Volume: 133,713

Volume % Change: 270%

From a technical perspective, CNMD has started to flirt with a big breakout trade today since the stock briefly traded above some near-term overhead resistance at $30.71 with heavy volume. At last check, the stock has come back below that breakout level with shares now near $30.

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Market players should look for long-biased trades on CNMD if this stock can manage to get back above $30.71 and take out its daily high of $31.93 with volume. A sustained high-volume move and close above those levels should set this stock up for more upside.

Comcast

Comcast (CMCSA) is a provider of video, high-speed Internet and phone services (cable services) to residential and business customers in the U.S. This stock is trading up 5.1% at $28.64 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 25.3 million

Average Volume: 15.3 million

Volume % Change: 139%

From a technical perspective, CMCSA is gapping up big today on gigantic volume above some past overhead resistance at $26.89. This move is now pushing the stock into overbought territory since its current relative strength index (RSI) reading is now 80.68. An RSI reading over 70 is considered overbought.

That said, overbought can become more overbought, and the stock can still easily march higher. I would continue to look for long-biased trades in CMCSA as long as this stock can continue to trend above $26.89 with strong volume.

Comcast shows up on lists of 10 Stocks of Top-Performing Funds in 2012 and Goldman Sachs' Consumer Stock Best Buys for 2012.

Aixtron

Aixtron (AIXG) is a provider of deposition equipment to the semiconductor and compound-semiconductor industry. This stock is trading up 4.4% at $15.91 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 347,000

Average Volume: 203,768

Volume % Change: 152%

From a technical perspective, AIXG is now trading within range of triggering a big breakout if the stock can manage to close above some near-term overhead resistance. That resistance sits at $16.04, and at last check, the stock hit $16.63 at the daily highs, and volume is very strong.

Traders should now look for the stock to close strong above $16.04 or much closer to the daily highs. If we get that action, then look for AIXG to re-test its next significant overhead resistance at $17.40 to $17.73 to $19.62 in the near future.

Skullcandy

Skullcandy (SKUL) develops and distributes headphones and other audio accessories to retailers throughout the U.S. and to distributors in various countries worldwide. This stock is trading up 4.5% at $15.50 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 725,000

Average Volume: 392,248

Volume % Change: 139%

From a technical perspective, SKUL is starting to flirt with a breakout trade today now that this stock is challenging some near-term overhead resistance at $15.59 on big volume.

Traders should now watch SKUL for a sustained high-volume move and close above that level to signal that this stock wants to trend higher. At last check, the volume is well above the average daily action and the daily high for the stock is $15.75. If we get a close over $15.59 today, then traders should continue to look for long biased trades in SKUL in the near-term.

Palomar Medical Technologies

Palomar Medical Technologies (PMTI) designs, manufactures, markets and sells lasers and other light-based products and related disposable items and accessories for use in medical and cosmetic procedures. This stock is trading up 5.9% at $10.20 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 171,000

Average Volume: 88,431

Volume % Change: 184%

From a technical perspective, PMTI has started to trigger a major breakout trade today now that this stock is moving above some near-term overhead resistance at $9.75 on heavy volume. If this stock can manage to close strong and near its daily highs, or at least solidly above $9.75, then it has a great chance to re-test its next major overhead resistance levels at $11.45 to $12.

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.