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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. Many times when above average volume moves into equity it precedes a large spike in volatility.
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.
Zoltek (ZOLT), through its subsidiaries, develops, manufactures, and markets carbon fibers and technical fibers primarily in Europe, the U.S. and Asia. This stock is trading up 11% at $11.35 in recent trading.
Today’s Volume: 958,000
Average Volume: 467,692
Volume % Change: 301%
Shares of ZOLT are soaring today after the company announced that it is working with a unit of Magna International to speed development of low-cost carbon fiber sheeting molding compounds for the auto industry.
From a technical perspective, ZOLT is gapping up strong today back above its 50-day moving average of $11.06 with heavy volume. Shares of ZOLT are also just starting to trigger a breakout trade as the stock starts to challenge some near-term overhead resistance at $11.64.
Traders should continue to look for long-biased trades as long as ZOLT is trending above $11.64 and if it closes near its daily highs. If we get that action, look for this stock to re-test its next significant overhead resistance level at around $13 to $13.30 in the near future.
Express Scripts (ESRX) is a pharmacy benefit management company in North America, offering a range of services to its clients, which include health insurers, third-party administrators, employers, union-sponsored benefit plans, workers’ compensation plans and government health programs. The stock is trading up 1% at $53.65 in recent trading.
Today’s Volume: 23 million
Average Volume: 7.8 million
Volume % Change: 499%
Shares of ESRX are advancing slightly higher today after the company said their $29.1 billion merger with Medco Health Solutions could close as soon as next week.
From a technical perspective, ESRX has started to flirt with a major breakout trade today since the stock briefly crossed above some near-term overhead resistance at $55.06 with monster volume. At last check, ESRX hit a high today of $55.34 before pulling back to its current price of around $54.
Traders should only consider long-biased trades if ESRX is it trends back above that key breakout level of $55.06 with strong volume flows. Look for a sustained high-volume move and close above $55.06. If we get that action, then ESRX has a great chance to trade up to its next significant overhead resistance level at $57.47.
OmniVision Technologies (OVTI) designs, develops and markets semiconductor image-sensor devices. The stock is trading up 1.5% at $19.83 in recent trading.
Today’s Volume: 2.5 million
Average Volume: 2.5 million
Volume % Change: 88%
From a technical perspective, OVTI is rising modestly today on decent volume. This move is quickly pushing OVTI into a gap zone from when the stock gapped down in late 2011 from around $26 to $16 on huge volume.
Traders should now look for long-biased traders in OVTI as long as this stock can manage to close above $20 and near its daily highs. That $20 level is important because it sits right above the gap down day’s high price. Shares of OVTI could continue to fill a large amount of that gap if the stock can continue to trend above $20.
Alkermes (ALKS) is an integrated biotechnology company. Alkermes is engaged in the business of developing, manufacturing and commercializing medicines for the treatment of prevalent, chronic diseases. The stock is trading up 4.9% at $17.83 in recent trading.
Today’s Volume: 1.9 million
Average Volume: 1.1 million
Volume % Change: 210%
From a technical perspective, ALKS is challenging its 50-day moving average today at $17.83 with heavy volume. This stock also briefly crossed above some near-term overhead resistance at $17.99. At last check, ALKS has pulled back off its daily high of $18.17 with shares trading at around $17.80.
Traders should only look for long-biased trades if ALKS is trending above its 50-day moving average and above that resistance at $17.99 with strong upside volume flows.
KiOR (KIOR) is development-stage company. KiOR is a renewable fuels company, which has developed a technology platform to convert non-food biomass into hydrocarbon-based oil. This stock is trading up 5.4% at $13.14 in recent trading.
Today’s Volume: 289,000
Average Volume: 124,982
Volume % Change: 327%
From a technical perspective, KIOR is ripping higher today on above average volume. This move is quickly pushing the stock within range of triggering a big breakout trade. That breakout will hit once KIOR can takes out some near-term overhead resistance at $13.19 to $13.50 with volume.
Watch for a sustained high-volume move and close above those levels to signal that KIOR wants to trend much higher. If we get that action soon, then traders should continue to look for long biased trades since there will be little overhead resistance left until $17 to $18.40.
KiOR was also highlighted recently in "7 Undervalued IPO Stocks That Could Rebound in 2012."
Nvidia (NVDA) is a provider of visual computing technologies and the inventor of the graphics processing unit. This stock is trading up 1.8% at $15.09 in recent trading.
Today’s Volume: 12.6 million
Average Volume: 13.65 million
Volume % Change: 71%
Shares of NVDA are rising slightly higher today after JMP Securities raised its rating on the stock to market perform from market underperform. The firm said there is mounting evidence that margin and booking trends have bottomed for the company and are likely to improve rolling forward due to GPU and Tagra market share gains.
From a technical perspective, NVDA has started to challenge its 50-day moving average of $15.15 today with decent volume.
Traders should only look for long-biased trades if NVDA can manage to close above that 50-day and near its daily highs with above average volume. Look for volume that’s near or well above 13,645,100 shares. If we get that action, then NVDA could make a run at its recent high of $16.90.
Parexel International (PRXL) is a biopharmaceutical services company, providing a range of expertise in clinical research, medical communications, consulting, and advanced technology products and services to the worldwide pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and medical device industries. This stock is trading up 1.4% at $27.62 in recent trading.
Today’s Volume: 297,000
Average Volume: 428,164
Volume % Change: 50%
From a technical perspective, PRXL is advancing modestly today and decent volume, and the stock has managed to print a new 52-week high at $28.74. This move has also pushed the stock within range of triggering a big breakout trade. That trade will hit once PRXL can manage to sustain high-volume move and close above some past overhead resistance at $27.91.
Traders should now look for PRXL to close above $27.91 and hear its daily highs with volume that’s near or well above 428,164 shares. If we get that action soon, then look for PRXL to move above $30 in the near future.
Magic-Jack VocalTec (CALL) is a provider of carrier-class voice over Internet protocol and convergence solutions for fixed and wireless communication service providers. This stock is trading up 2.8% at $23.63 in recent trading.
Today’s Volume: 309,000
Average Volume: 343,595
Volume % Change: 68%
From a technical perspective, CALL is bouncing off of some pervious support at around $22.70 today with decent volume. This stock recently formed a near-term double bottom since buyers have stepped in to support the shares at $22.50 to $22.70 in the last few weeks.
Traders should continue to look for long-biased trades as long as CALL doesn’t trade back below those support levels with high-volume. If we can get a strong close on CALL today near its daily highs, then this stock has a great chance to make a run at $26 to $28.22 (recent high) 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.
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.