Stock Quotes in this Article: ACXM, GEOY, RUE, SCSS, SMTC

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.

Acxiom

Acxiom (ACXM) is engaged in marketing technology and services that enable marketers to manage audiences, personalize consumer experiences and create customer relationships. This stock is trading up 5.3% at $13.98 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 457,000

Average Volume: 324,097

Volume % Change: 214%

Shares of ACXM are soaring today after news broke Thursday that the company has increased the size of its authorized repurchase plan to $150 million.

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From a technical perspective, ACXM are moving back above its 50-day moving average of $13.88 on above average volume. This move is also pushing ACXM above some near-term overhead resistance at $13.85.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in ACXM if it can manage to trigger a near-term breakout trade. That trade will hit once it takes out some near-term overhead resistance at $14.27 with high-volume. Look for a sustained move or close above $14.27 with volume that’s near or above 324,097 shares. If we get that action soon, then ACXM has a great chance of re-testing its 52-week high of $14.92.

Rue21

Rue21 (RUE) is a specialty apparel retailer. This stock is trading up 7.6% at $29.07 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 470,000

Average Volume: 294,278

Volume % Change: 235%

Shares of RUE are soaring today after the company reported first quarter profit that rose more than estimated and it also raised its profit forecast for the year.

From a technical perspective, RUE is spiking sharply higher here back above its 50-day moving average of $28.79 with above average volume. This move is also pushing RUE above some near-term overhead resistance at $28.97.

Traders should continue to look for long-biased trades in RUE as long as it’s trending above its 50-day and $28.97 with strong upside volume flows. I would consider any upside volume day that registers volume near or above 294,278 shares as bullish. If we continue to see RUE trending above those levels with volume, then this stock should easily re-test its May high of $31.97.

GeoEye

GeoEye (GEOY) is a commercial provider of earth imagery, and a provider of image-processing services and geospatial information services to the United States and foreign government defense and intelligence organizations, domestic federal and foreign civil agencies and commercial customers. This stock is trading up 7.3% at $20.50 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 273,000

Average Volume: 290,670

Volume % Change: 152%

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From a technical perspective, GEOY is bouncing big here off of some previous support at around $19 with decent volume. This sharp bounce has now pushed GEOY into breakout territory since the stock has taken out some near-term overhead resistance at $19.99.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades as long as GEOY is trending above $19.99 with strong upside volume flows. I would consider any upside volume day that registers near or above 290,670 shares as bullish. If we continue to see that action, then GEOY has a great chance of tagging its 50-day moving average of $22.63 soon or possibly much higher.

Mattress Firm

Mattress Firm (MFRM) is a specialty retailer of mattresses and related products and accessories in the United States. This stock is trading up 5% at $37.65 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 266,000

Average Volume: 219,890

Volume % Change: 112%

Shares of MFRM are soaring higher today after the International Sleep Products Association, a bedding industry trade group, said that its April Bedding Barometer showed increases in both units sold and sales dollars compared to last year.

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From a technical perspective, MFRM is pushing higher here right below its 50-day moving average of $38.56 on above average volume. This stock has also started to challenge some near-term overhead resistance at $37.64. At last check, MFRM has hit an intraday high of $38.99 but has since pulled back near $37.60.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades as long as MFRM is trending above its 50-day of $38.56, and above today’s high of $38.99 with strong upside volume flows. I would consider any upside volume day that registers near or above 219,890 shares as bullish. If we get that action, look for MFRM to hit $42 to $44 in the near future.

On the flipside, this stock should be avoided if it fails to maintain a trend above its 50-day.

Semtech

Semtech (SMTC) is a supplier of analog and mixed-signal semiconductor products. Semtech designs, produces and markets a range of products that are sold principally into applications within the high-end consumer, industrial, computing and communications end-markets. This stock is trading up 3% at $24.43 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 601,000

Average Volume: 511,614

Volume % Change: 144%

Shares of SMTC are moving higher today after Williams Financial upgraded the stock to buy from hold saying while its first quarter results were below consensus; the quarter was “fairly strong.”

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From a technical perspective, SMTC is ripping higher here on above average volume. This move is quickly pushing the stock within range of triggering a breakout trade. That trade will hit once SMTC takes out its 200-day moving average of $25.11, and then some overhead resistance at $25.50 with high-volume.

Traders should look for long-biased trades off a sustained move or close above those levels with volume that’s near or above 511,614 shares. If we get that action soon, then SMTC could easily tag its 50-day moving average of $26.71, or possibly $27.50 to $28 in the near future.

AFC Enterprises

AFC Enterprises (AFCE) develops, operates, and franchises quick-service restaurants under the trade names Popeyes Chicken & Biscuits and Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen. Within Popeyes, it manages two business segments: franchise operations and company-operated restaurants. This stock is trading up 4.8% at $21.85 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 62,000

Average Volume: 77,054

Volume % Change: 56%.

From a technical perspective, AFCE is following through to the upside today after triggering a major breakout yesterday above $17.77 with monster volume. This move has now pushed AFCE into overbought territory since its current relative strength index (RSI) reading is 85.99.

Traders are probably best served letting this stock consolidate some of those recent gains before looking for long-biased trades. That said, as long as AFCE is trending above Thursday’s low of $19 with strong upside volume, then it has a great chance of eventually hitting $25 to $26. I would consider any upside volume day that registers near or above 77,054 shares a bullish.

Select Comfort

Select Comfort (SCSS) is a bed manufacturer and retailer. Select Comfort designs, manufactures, markets and distributes the SLEEP NUMBER bed and other sleep-related products. This stock is trading up 4.8% at $27.82 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 1.3 million
Average Volume: 1.45 million

Volume % Change: 51%

Shares of SCSS are ripping higher today after the International Sleep Products Association, a bedding industry trade group, said that its April Bedding Barometer showed increases in both units sold and sales dollars compared to last year.

From a technical perspective, SCSS is following through here off of a recent double bottom that was hit at $24.27 to $24.33. This move is quickly pushing the stock within range of a near-term breakout trade. That trade will hit once SCSS takes out some near-term overhead resistance at $28.84, and then its 50-day moving average of $30.55 with high-volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades once SCSS sustains a move or close above those levels with volume that’s near or above 1,445,560 shares. If we get that action soon, look for SCSS to hit $31 to $32.50, or possibly above $34.

Bazaarvoice

Bazaarvoice (BV) is a provider of social commerce solutions that help its clients capture, display and analyze online word of mouth, including consumer-generated ratings and reviews, questions and answers, stories, recommendations, photographs, videos and other content about its clients’ brands, products or services. This stock is trading up 6.4% at $16.10 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 196,000

Average Volume: 248,032

Volume % Change: 74%

Shares of BV are ripping higher today after the company announced it acquired PowerReviews Inc. for about $151.9 million in a cash and stock deal.

From a technical perspective, BV is bouncing sharply here off of some previous support at around $15 with decent volume. This move is quickly pushing BV within range of triggering a major breakout trade. That trade will hit once BV takes out some near-term overhead resistance at $16.92, and then its 50-day moving average of $18.25 with high-volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades once BV sustains a move or close above those levels with volume that’s near or above 248,032 shares. If we get that action soon, then this stock has a great chance of trading above $20 in the near future. On the flipside, BV should be avoided or a shorted if it breaks below some major support at $14.48 with high-volume.

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.