Stock Quotes in this Article: ASGN, CPSI, CPTS, PATK, SAIA, SWKS, WCRX, TRIP

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.

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.

Conceptus

Conceptus (CPST) is engaged in the design, development, marketing and promotion of solutions in women’s healthcare. This stock is trading up 9% at $15.16 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 524,000

Average Volume: 180,667

Volume % Change: 479%

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Shares of CPTS are ripping higher today after the company reported net sales for the first-quarter of 2012 that were $29.0 million, an increase of 9.3% compared with net sales for the first-quarter of 2011 of $26.6 million.

From a technical perspective, CPTS is gapping up sharply here back above its 50-day moving average of $13.99 on heavy volume. This move is quickly pushing CPTS within range of triggering a near-term breakout trade. That trade will hit once CPTS takes out some near-term overhead resistance at $15.25 with high-volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades off a move or close over $15.25 with volume that’s near or well above 180,667 shares. If we get that action soon, then look for CPTS to clear some past overhead resistance at $15.70 to $15.78 with high-volume. If all those levels are taken out with volume, then target a run back towards its next significant overhead resistance at $17.74.

Warner Chilcott

Warner Chilcott (WCRX) is specialty pharmaceutical company. It is focused on the women’s healthcare, gastroenterology, dermatology and urology segments of the branded pharmaceuticals market, primarily in North America. This stock is trading up 8.8% at $18.94 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 5.9 million

Average Volume: 2.2 million

Volume % Change: 426%

Shares of WCRX are soaring today after the Times of London said that Bayer may see a takeover of the company.

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From a technical perspective, WCRX is gapping up big here on monster volume. This move is pushing WCRX within range of triggering a major breakout trade. That trade will hit once WCRX takes out some past overhead resistance at $19 with volume. At last check, WCRX has hit an intraday high of $19.50.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades as long as WCRX can clear above $19 and near its daily highs. If we get that action soon, then WCRX should trade up to its next significant overhead resistance levels $22 to $24.50 in the near future.

Saia

Saia (SAIA) is an asset-based trucking company that provides a variety of transportation and supply chain solutions to a range of industries, including the retail, chemical and manufacturing industries. This stock is trading up 6.6% at $17.92 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 323,000

Average Volume: 102,348

Volume % Change: 416%

Shares of SAIA are ripping higher today after the company reported 34 cents of earnings per share on an 11% increase in revenue for the first-quarter at $269 million.

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From a technical perspective, SAIA is gapping up sharply here back above its 50-day moving average of $16.88 on above average volume. This move is pushing the stock within range of a triggering a major breakout trade. That trade will hit once SAIA takes out some near-term overhead resistance levels at $18.37 with high-volume. At last check, SAIA has hit an intraday high of $18.45 and volume is well above its average action.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades if SAIA can move or close above $18.37 with volume that’s near or well above 102,348 shares. If we get that action soon, look for SAIA to tag $20 rather quickly.

Computer Programs & Systems

Computer Programs & Systems (CPSI) is a healthcare information technology company that designs, develops, markets, installs and supports computerized information technology systems for small and midsize hospitals. The stock is trading up 6.7% at $59.63 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 178,000

Average Volume: 98,108

Volume % Change: 261%

Shares of CPSI are moving sharply higher today after the company reported total revenues for the first-quarter of 44.5 million, an increase of 10.2%, compared with total revenue of $40.4 million for the same quarter last year. The company also said that its Board of Directors has declared a regular quarterly cash dividend of 46 cents per share.

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From a technical perspective, CPSI is busting back above both its 50-day moving average of $58.32 and its 200-day moving average of $58.75 with heavy volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in CPSI as long as it’s trending above both of those key moving averages with strong upside volume flows. I would consider upside volume that’s near or well above 98,108 as bullish action. If we continue to see that action, then some potential upside targets are $62 to $64 in the near future.

Skyworks Solutions

Skyworks Solutions (SWKS) offers analog and mixed signal semiconductors. Skyworks offers custom linear products supporting automotive, broadband, cellular infrastructure, energy management, industrial, medical, military and cellular handset applications. This stock is trading up 6.5% at $27.18 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 5.2 million

Average Volume: 4.6 million

Volume % Change: 116%

Shares of Skyworks are soaring today after the company reported better-than-expected results for its fiscal second-quarter. Skyworks reported revenue of $364.7 million, an increase of 12% from a year ago, ahead of guidance at $360 million and above Wall Street estimates of $361 million.

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From a technical perspective, SWKS has been gapping higher for the past four trading sessions on above average volume. This stock also moved back above its 50-day moving average of $26.67 today, and briefly broke out above some near-term overhead resistance at $27.47.

Traders should now only look for long-biased trades as long as SKWS is trending above its 50-day and above $27.47 with strong upside volume flows. I would consider any upside volume that’s near or above 4.6 million shares as strong. Traders should avoid this stock or look for short-biased trades if it closes back below its 50-day moving average with heavy volume. This stock could easily fill all of those recent gaps if we get that high-volume move back below its 50-day.

TripAdvisor

TripAdvisor (TRIP) is an online travel research company, enabling users to plan and have a trip. This stock is trading up 9.4% at $37.63 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 3.8 million

Average Volume: 2.1 million

Volume % Change: 247%

From a technical perspective, TRIP is gapping up sharply today on monster volume. This move is quickly pushing the stock within range of triggering a near-term breakout trade. That trade will hit once TRIP takes out some near-term overhead resistance at $36.43 to $37.78 with high-volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades if TRIP can sustain a move or close above those levels on volume that’s near or above 2,102,550 shares. If we get that action soon, look for TRIP to tag $40. Keep in mind that a move over $37.78 will mean TRIP is trading in all-time high territory. I would avoid TRIP or look for short-biased trades if it moves below today’s low of $35.88 with volume.

TripAdvisor was also featured recently in "5 Stocks Endowment Funds Are Buying in 2012."

On Assignment

On Assignment (ASGN) is a diversified professional staffing firm providing flexible and permanent staffing solutions in specialty skills, including laboratory/scientific, healthcare/nursing/physician, medical financial, information technology (IT) and engineering. This stock is trading up 9.4% at $18.92 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 425,000

Average Volume: 302,765

Volume % Change: 130%

Shares of ASGN are moving sharply higher today after the company reported record quarterly revenues up 29% year-over-year and 3% sequentially.

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From a technical perspective, ASGN is skyrocketing here on above average volume. This move is quickly pushing ASGN within range of trigging a major breakout trade. That trade will hit once ASGN takes out some near-term overhead resistance at $18.93 with high-volume. At last check, ASGN has hit an intraday high of $19.25.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades if ASGN can sustain a move or close above $18.93 with volume that’s near or above 302,765 shares. As long as ASGN is trending above $18.93 with strong upside volume flows, then this stock can potentially trade up towards $20 to $24.50 in the near future.

Patrick Industries

Patrick Industries (PATK) is a manufacturer and distributor of building products and materials to the recreational vehicle and manufactured housing industries. In addition, it is a supplier to certain other industrial markets, such as kitchen cabinet, household furniture, fixtures and commercial furnishings, marine, and other industrial markets. This stock is trading up 14% at $13.05 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 369,000

Average Volume: 109,102

Volume % Change: 442%

From a technical perspective, PATK is running sharply higher here and continue on its big-time gap-up momentum from yesterday. This move is quickly pushing PATK within range of triggering a major near-term breakout trade. That trade will hit once PATK takes out some near-term overhead resistance at $13.30 with high-volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades if PATK can sustain a move or close over $13.30 with volume that’s near or above 109,102 shares. If we get that action soon, look for PATK to continue its trend higher towards $15 to $17 in the near future. Traders should avoid this stock or look for short-biased trades if PATK moves back below its gap-up day low of $10.50 with heavy volume, or even below today-s low of $11.30.

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.