DELAFIELD, Wis. (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. Often when above-average volume moves into an 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.

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

Breitburn Energy Partners

Breitburn Energy Partners (BBEP) , an independent oil and gas company, acquires, explores, and develops oil, natural gas liquids and gas properties in the U.S. This stock closed up 10.3% at $15.45 in Wednesday's trading session.

Wednesday's Volume: 4.38 million
Three-Month Average Volume: 1.17 million
Volume % Change: 343%

From a technical perspective, BBEP exploded sharply higher here and counter-trended strong versus the overall market weakness off its new 52-week low of $13.20 with heavy upside volume flows. This stock has literally crashed over the last month and change, with shares plunging lower from its high of $22.73 to its new 52-week low of $13.20. During that crash, shares of BBEP have consistently made lower highs and lower lows, which is bearish technical price action. Also during that crash, shares of BBEP have experienced wide swings in intraday volatility since it lost its 200-day moving average. That increased downside volatility has now pushed shares of BBEP into oversold territory, since its current relative price index reading is 25. That said, shares of BBEP have already started to bounce off oversold levels, and traders should now look for a continuation move to the upside in the short-term if BBEP takes out Wednesday's intraday high of $15.49 to some more near-term overhead resistance just above $16 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in BBEP as long as it's trending above its new 52-week low of $13.20 and then once it sustains a move or close above those near-term resistance levels with volume that this near or above 1.17 million shares. If that move develops soon, then BBEP will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $17.90 to around $19.

Theravance

Theravance (THRX) , a royalty management company, is focused on developing respiratory products. This stock closed up 5.7% at $17.05 in Wednesday's trading session.

Wednesday's Volume: 1.25 million
Three-Month Average Volume: 814,417
Volume % Change: 50%

From a technical perspective, THRX jumped higher here off its new 52-week low of $15.76 with above-average volume. This stock has experienced heightened volatility to the downside over the last month and change, with shares dropping sharply from its high of $23.84 to that new 52-week low of $15.76. Prior to that downtrend and pick up in volatility, shares of THRX collapsed in July to early April, from $31.45 to $20.78. This extremely downside volatility has produced multiple days of wide intraday price swings. That said, shares of THRX are now starting to rebound right around some recent support levels at $15.93 to $15.83 with strong upside volume flows. That move is quickly pushing shares of THRX within range of triggering a big breakout trade. That trade will hit if THRX manages to take out Wednesday's intraday high of $17.11 to some more key overhead resistance levels at $17.26 to $18 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in THRX as long as it's trending above its new 52-week low of $15.76 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that's near or above 814,417 shares. If that breakout kicks off soon, then THRX will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $19 to its 50-day moving average of $19.80, or even $21 to $22.

Northern Oil and Gas

Northern Oil and Gas(NOG) - Get Report , an independent energy company, is engaged in the acquisition, exploration, development and production of oil and natural gas properties in the U.S. This stock closed up 10.2% at $11 in Wednesday's trading session.

Wednesday's Volume: 3.36 million
Three-Month Average Volume: 943,998
Volume % Change: 269%

From a technical perspective, NOG ripped sharply higher here off its new 52-week low of $9.53 with heavy upside volume flows. This stock has been crushed lower by the sellers over the last month and change, with shares moving sharply to the downside from its high of $17 to its new 52-week low of $9.53. During that move, shares of NOG have been consistently making lower highs and lower lows, which is bearish technical price action. This extreme trend in downside volatility over that time frame has produced multiple trading sessions of wide intraday price swings lower. Thos swings all started once shares of NOG lost its 50-day moving average in late September. This heightened level of downside volatility has now pushed shares of NOG into oversold territory, since its relative strength index reading is now 29. Shares of NOG have now started explode higher off those oversold levels, and traders should now look for a continuation move to the upside in the short-term if NOG manages to take out Wednesday's intraday high of $11.07 to just above $11.50 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in NOG as long as it's trending above its new 52-week low of $9.53 and then once it sustains a move or close above those near-term resistance levels with volume that's near or above 943,998 shares. If that move gets set off soon, then NOG will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $12.50 to $13.50, or even $14.

Nautilus

Nautilus(NLS) - Get Report , together with its subsidiaries, operates as a consumer fitness products company primarily in the U.S. and Canada. This stock closed up 4.6% at $12.19 in Wednesday's trading session.

Wednesday's Volume: 976,000
Three-Month Average Volume: 216,151
Volume % Change: 215%

From a technical perspective, NLS counter-trended sharply higher here versus the overall market weakness back above its 50-day moving average $12.11 with strong upside volume flows. This sharp spike to the upside on Wednesday is quickly pushing shares of NLS within range of triggering a major breakout trade. That trade will hit if NLS manages to take out Wednesday's intraday high of $12.23 to some more key overhead resistance levels at $12.50 to its 52-week high of $13.31 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in NLS as long as it's trending above Wednesday's intraday low of $11.35 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that's near or above 216,151 shares. If that breakout develops soon, then NLS will set up to enter new 52-week-high territory above $13.31, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that move are $15 to $17.

To see more stocks rising on unusual volume, check out the Stocks Rising on Unusual Volume portfolio on Stockpickr.

-- Written by Roberto Pedone in Delafield, Wis.

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At the time of publication, author had no positions in stocks mentioned. Roberto Pedone, based out of Delafield, Wis., is an independent trader who focuses on technical analysis for small- and large-cap stocks, options, futures, commodities and currencies. Roberto studied international business at the Milwaukee School of Engineering, and he spent a year overseas studying business in Lubeck, Germany. His work has appeared on financial outlets including CNBC.com and Forbes.com. You can follow Pedone on Twitter at www.twitter.com/zerosum24 or @zerosum24.