Stock Quotes in this Article: ACOR, GOOG, PANL, SHLD, SKUL

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.”

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.

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With that in mind, let's take a look at several stocks rising on unusual volume today.

Acorda Therapeutics

Acorda Therapeutics (ACOR) is a commercial-stage biopharmaceutical company. Acorda Therapeutics is engaged in the identification, development and commercialization of novel therapies that improve neurological function in people with multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury, and other disorders of the nervous system. This stock is trading up 2.7% at $22.32 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 784,000

Average Volume: 326,581

Volume % Change: 304%

Shares of ACOR are moving modestly higher today despite the fact that the company said that a low dose of its multiple sclerosis treatment Ampyra didn’t meet a study goal.

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From a technical perspective, ACOR is gapping up here with above average volume. This move is occurring near some previous support levels at $21.33 to $21.46.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades once ACOR clears today’s high of $22.95, and then once it takes out both its 50-day at $23.72 and its 200-day at $24.28 with high volume. Look for a sustained move or close above those levels with volume that’s near or above 326,581 shares. If we that action soon, then ACOR could re-test and possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $26 to $26.65.

Sears Holdings

Sears Holdings (SHLD) operates as a specialty retailer in the U.S. and Canada. The company’s Kmart segment operates stores that sell merchandise under Jaclyn Smith and Joe Boxer labels; and Sears brand products, such as Kenmore, Craftsman, and Diehard. This stock is trading up 5.5% at $54.29 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 1.2 million

Average Volume: 727,055

Volume % Change: 179%

Shares of SHLD are ripping higher today after the firm said it plans to spin off a company that will be publicly traded and control roughly 1,200 small but generally profitable franchised stores that sell Sears products, as well as its stores called Hometown.

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From a technical perspective, SHLD is gapping up sharply here back above its 50-day moving average of $52.86 with above average volume. This move is quickly pushing SHLD within range of triggering a major breakout trade. That trade will hit once SHLD takes out some near-term overhead resistance levels at $55.50, and then its 200-day moving average of $56.24 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in SHLD as long as its trending above its 50-day, and then once it sustains a move or close above $55.50 to $56.24 with volume that’s near or above 727,055 shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then look for SHLD to re-test and possibly take out its next major overhead resistance level at $62.95.

Gentiva Health Services

Gentiva Health Services (GTIV) is engaged in providing home health services and hospice services. This stock is trading up 10% at $10.66 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 394,000

Average Volume: 299,909

Volume % Change: 79%

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From a technical perspective, GTIV is exploding higher here with above average volume. This move has attracted momentum buyers that are coming into the stock after it just broke out above $9.04 with high volume. This move is also pushing GTIV into overbought territory, since its current relative strength index reading is now 83.41. Overbought can always get more overbought, so it doesn’t mean that GTIV is setting up to fall just yet.

Traders should now look for short-term long-biased trades as long as GTIV is trending above $9.62 to $9.00 with strong upside volume flows. I would consider any upside volume day that registers near or above 299.909 shares as bullish. If that trend continues, then GTIV could trade up towards $12 to possible $13 in the near-term. Keep in mind that the overbought condition for GTIV would only have me looking for short-term trades, since it’s not an ideal area for longer-term entries.

I also featured Gentiva in "5 Stocks Poised for Braekouts."

Google

Google (GOOG) is a global technology company focused on improving the ways people connect with information. Google generates revenue primarily by delivering online advertising. This stock is trading up 2.3% at $657.08 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 2.3 million

Average Volume: 2.4 million

Volume % Change: 50%

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From a technical perspective, GOOG is gapping up notably here above some near-term overheard resistance at $650 with decent volume. This move is quickly pushing GOOG within range of triggering a major breakout trade. That trade will hit once GOOG takes out some past overhead resistance at $658.59 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades once GOOG sustains a move or close over $658.59 with volume that’s near or above 2,399,210 shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then look for GOOG to re-test and possibly take out its next major overhead resistance level at $670.25. Any move over $670.25 should be consider bullish for GOOG, since it will mean the stock has entered new 52-week high territory.

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 2.75% at $16.42 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 646,000

Average Volume: 486,300

Volume % Change: 71%

From a technical perspective, SKUL is moving notably higher here with above average volume. This move is quickly pushing SKUL within range of triggering a near-term breakout trade. That trade will hit once SKUL clears some near-term overhead resistance levels at $16.80 to $17.76 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades once SKUL sustains a move or close above those levels with volume that’s near or above 486,300 shares. At last check, SKUL has hit an intraday high of $16.75 and volume is tracking in higher than its three-month average action of 486,300 shares. If that breakout triggers soon for SKUL, then this stock has a great chance of re-testing or possibly taking out its next major overhead resistance level at $19.75.

I also featured Skullcandy last week in "5 Stocks Poised for Breakouts."

Universal Display

Universal Display (PANL) is engaged in the research, development and commercialization of organic light emitting diode technologies and materials. This stock is trading up 2.2% at $40.40 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 965,000

Average Volume: 1 million

Volume % Change: 50%

Shares of PANL are moving modestly higher today after Wedbush upgraded the stock from neutral to outperform.

From a technical perspective, PANL is bouncing here right near its 200-day moving average of $38.09 with decent volume. This move has briefly pushed PANL into breakout territory, since it’s moved above some past overhead resistance at $40.76. At last check, PANL has hit an intraday high of $40.97, but it has since then pulled back to around $40.40.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in PANL as long as it’s trending above its 200-day at $38.09, and then once it sustains a move or close above $40.76 with high volume. Look for volume on that move that hits near or above 1 million shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then look for PANL to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance level at $45.70.

Delek US Holdings

Delek US Holdings (DK) is an integrated energy business focused on petroleum refining, the wholesale distribution of refined products and convenience store retailing. This stock is trading up 4.5% at $24.04 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 1.2 million

Average Volume: 348,486

Volume % Change: 405%

From a technical perspective, DK is bouncing sharply here right off some near-term support at $23 with heavy volume. This move is following a recent selloff in DK from overbought conditions that took the stock from $26.40 to just under $23.

Traders should now look for short-term long-biased trades in DK if this stock can manage to take out some near-term overhead resistance at $24.50 with high volume. Look for a sustained move or close above $24.50 with volume that’s near or above 348,486 shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then look for DK to re-test or possibly take out that recent high of $26.40.

On the flipside, I would avoid this stock or look for short-term short-biased trades if it fails to trigger that breakout, and then moves back below some near-term support at $22.76 with high volume.

OSI Systems

OSI Systems (OSIS) is a vertically integrated designer and manufacturer of specialized electronic systems and components for critical applications. This stock is trading up 2% at $72.96 in recent trading.

Today’s Volume: 117,000

Average Volume: 107,183

Volume % Change: 50%

From a technical perspective, OSIS is seeing some momentum buying today after the stock traded up significantly on Thursday and Friday of last week. That move on last Thursday pushed OSIS from $66 to $72 with monster upside volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in OSIS as long as it’s trending above some near-term support at $70 with strong upside volume flows. I would consider any upside volume day that registers near or above 107,183 shares as bullish. If OSIS can continue to hold its trend above $70, then this stock could hit $80 or higher in the near future. At last check, shares of OSIS have hit a new 52-week high today of $73.26 with above average 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.