Stock Quotes in this Article: CLUB, FMCN, GNTX, HEES, MDSO, SINA, ASNA, ZNGA

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.

Ascena Retail Group

Ascena Retail Group (ASNA) operates as a specialty retailer of apparel for women and tween girls in the U.S., Puerto Rico and Canada. The stock is trading up 5.8% at $41.22 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 2.3 million

Average Volume: 772,646

Volume % Change: 486%

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From a technical perspective, ASNA is gapping up big today on monster volume, and it’s breaking out above some near-term overhead resistance at $39.28.

Traders should now look for a strong close that’s near its daily highs of $43, or at the least comfortably above that breakout. If we get that action, then traders should continue to look for long biased trades as long as ASNA doesn’t move back below today’s low of $40.56.

H&E Equipment

H&E Equipment (HEES) is an integrated equipment services companies in the U.S. focused on heavy construction and industrial equipment. The stock is trading up 2.2% at $19.93 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 545,000

Average Volume: 164,125

Volume % Change: 438%

From a technical perspective, HEES has started to flirt with a big breakout trade today since the stock is bumping up against some near-term overhead resistance at $19.64 with volume. This stock also briefly crossed above another big overhead resistance level of $20.40.

Traders should now watch for a sustained high-volume move and close above $19.64 to $20.40 to signal that this stock wants to trend much higher. Look for volume that’s well above 164,125 shares.

Zynga

Zynga (ZNGA) is a social game developer with 232 million average monthly active users (MAUs) in 166 countries. The stock is trading up 3.5% at $15.00 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 19.8 million

Average Volume: 13.1 million

Volume % Change: 234%

From a technical perspective, ZNGA has triggered a big breakout trade today once the stock took out some near-term overhead resistance at $14.55 with monster volume. At last check, ZNGA hit a high today of $15.91 but it has since pulled back of that high to around $15.

Traders should continue to look for long biased trades in ZNGA as long as it’s trending above $14.55. Any move below that level and I would avoid this stock from the long side for short-term trades.

Zynga shows up on a recent list of 3 Tech Stock Leaders of 2012, as well as 4 Companies Riding Facebook's Wave.

Town Sports International

Town Sports International (CLUB) is an owner and operator of fitness clubs in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions of the U.S. This stock is trading up 5.2% at $10.79 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 179,000

Average Volume: 86,236

Volume % Change: 229%

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From a technical perspective, CLUB has started to trigger a near-term breakout today now that this stock is moving above $10.50 with strong volume.

Market players should continue to look for long-biased trades in CLUB as long as this stock is trending above $10.50 with strong upside volume flows. The next significant overhead resistance level that could be hit by CLUB is around $15.

Gentex

Gentex (GNTX)
This company is a supplier of automatic-dimming (auto-dimming) rear-view mirrors and camera-based lighting-assist features to the global automotive industry. This stock is trading up 1.3% at $24.63 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 1.97 million

Average Volume: 1.4 million

Volume % Change: 136%

From a technical perspective, GNTX is bouncing modestly today following the stocks huge gap down from just a few trading sessions ago. Shares of GNTX gapped down huge on monster volume from over $27 to $23.39.

Market players should now look for long biased trades in GNTX if this stock takes out some near-term overhead resistance at $25.32 with volume. Look for volume on a move over that level that’s near of well above 1,397,610 shares.

Sina

Sina (SINA) is an online media company and MVAS provider in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and the global Chinese communities. This stock is trading up 8.7% at $75.87 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 6.6 million

Average Volume: 5.5 million

Volume % Change: 110%

From a technical perspective, SINA is gapping up huge today on heavy volume, and it’s triggered a near-term breakout above some overhead resistance at $70.76.

Traders should continue to look for long biased trades in SINA if it can trigger its next big breakout trade. That trade will trigger once SINA takes out some near-term overhead resistance at $77.80 with volume. A sustained high-volume move and close over $70.76 will set this stock up to re-test its 200-day moving average of $84.43 or trend much higher. Look for volume on that move that’s near or well above 5.5 million shares.

Sina was also featured recently in "5 Stocks With Breakout Potential."

Focus Media

Focus Media (FMCN) operates an interactive digital media network. Focus Media offers interactive digital media platforms aimed at Chinese consumers. This stock is trading up 6.2% at $26.06 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 1.9 million

Average Volume: 2.5 million

Volume % Change: 72%

From a technical perspective, FMCN has started to move above its 200-day moving average of $25.91 today on decent volume.

Market players should now look for long biased traders as long as FMCN is trending above that 200-day. The next big breakout trade will trigger once FMCN takes out some near-term overhead resistance at $28.60 with volume. Look for a sustained high-volume move and close over $28.60 to signal that FMCN warts to re-test its next significant overhead resistance level at $33. Look for volume on that move that’s near or above 2.5 million shares.

Medidata Solutions

Medidata Solutions (MDSO) is a provider of software-as-a-service (SaaS) based clinical technology solutions. This stock is trading up 3.1% at $20.67 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 336,000

Average Volume: 272,141

Volume % Change: 96%

From a technical perspective, MDSO is bouncing off its 200-day moving average today and it has started to move above its 50-day moving average of $20.53 on heavy volume.

Traders should continue to look for long biased trades in MDSO as long as it's trending above its 50-day moving average and it closes near its daily highs of $20.72. If we get that action, then look for MDSO to re-test its next significant overhead resistance levels at $22.50 to $24.60 in the very near future.

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.