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ZFGN OPB XENE SXC 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.

Zafgen

Zafgen (ZFGN) - Get Zafgen, Inc. Report , a biopharmaceutical company, focuses on the provision of therapeutics for patients suffering from obesity and obesity-related disorders. This stock is trading up 5.6% to $41.28 in Friday's trading session.

Friday's Volume: 149,000
Three-Month Average Volume: 165,451
Volume % Change: 85%

From a technical perspective, ZFGN is ripping sharply higher here right above some near-term support at $38 with decent upside volume flows. This stock recently broke out above some near-term overhead resistance at $38.97. This spike to the upside on Friday is now quickly pushing shares of ZFGN within range of triggering a much bigger breakout trade. That trade will trigger if ZFGN manages to take out its all-time high of $42.84 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in ZFGN as long as it's trending above some key near-term support levels at $38 or at $36.50 and then once it sustains a move or close above its 52-week high of $42.84 with volume that registers near or above 165,451 shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then ZFGN will set up to enter new all-time-high territory, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that breakout are $50 to $55, or even $60.

Opus Bank

Opus Bank (OPB) - Get Opus Bank Report , a commercial bank, provides banking products, services, and solutions to small and mid-sized commercial businesses, entrepreneurs, real estate investors, professionals and consumers. This stock is trading up 1.2% to $28.46 in Friday's trading session.

Friday's Volume: 59,000
Three-Month Average Volume: 68,856
Volume % Change: 137%

From a technical perspective, OPB is spiking modestly higher here right above some near-term support at $27.50 and right above its 50-day moving average of $26.94 with decent upside volume flows. This stock has been uptrending over the last two months, with shares moving higher from its low of $23.96 to its recent high of $28.91. During that uptrend, shares of OPB have been making mostly higher lows and higher highs, which is bullish technical price action. This spike to the upside on Friday is now quickly pushing shares of OPB within range of triggering a major breakout trade above some key near-term overhead resistance levels. That trade will trigger if OPB manages to take out some key near-term overhead resistance levels at $29.91 to its 200-day moving average of $28.92 with high volume.

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Traders should now look for long-biased trades in OPB as long as it's trending above some key near-term support at $27.50 or above its 50-day moving average of $26.94 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that registers near or above 68,856 shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then OBP will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $30.50 to $31.33, or even its 52-week high of $32.91.

Xenon Pharmaceuticals

Xenon Pharmaceuticals (XENE) - Get Xenon Pharmaceuticals Inc. Report , a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company, is engaged in discovering and developing therapeutics for orphan indications. This stock is trading up 1.7% to $20 in Friday's trading session.

Friday's Volume: 104,000
Three-Month Average Volume: 65,712
Volume % Change: 277%

From a technical perspective, XENE is spiking modestly higher here with above-average volume. This jump to the upside on Friday has briefly pushed shares of XENE into breakout territory, after the stock flirted with some near-term overhead resistance at $20.40. Shares of XENE tagged an intraday high in earlier trading of $20.81, before the stock pulled back to its current levels of around $20 a share. This move to the upside on Friday is now starting to push shares of XENE within range of triggering a much bigger breakout trade above some key near-term overhead resistance levels. That trade will hit if XENE manages to clear some key near-term overhead resistance levels at $22 to $22.25 and then above its all-time high of $23.50 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in XENE as long as it's trending above Friday's intraday low of $19.27 or above its 50-day moving average of $17.96 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 65,712 shares. If that breakout hits soon, then XENE will set up to enter new 52-week-high territory above $23.50, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that move are $30 to $35.

SunCoke Energy

SunCoke Energy (SXC) - Get SunCoke Energy, Inc. Report operates as an independent producer of coke in the Americas. This stock is trading up 3.7% to $17.83 in Friday's trading session.

Friday's Volume: 530,000
Three-Month Average Volume: 506,390
Volume % Change: 115%

From a technical perspective, SXC is ripping higher here right above some near-term support at $16.25 and back above its 50-day moving average of $17.83 with decent upside volume flows. This stock has been uptrending over the last few weeks, with shares moving higher from its new 52-week low of $14.99 to its intraday high on Friday of $17.98. During that uptrend, shares of SXC have been consistently making higher lows and higher highs, which is bullish technical price action. Market players should now look for a continuation move to the upside in the short-term if shares of SXC manage to take out Friday's intraday high of $17.98 to some more near-term overhead resistance at $18.50 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in SXC as long as it's trending above Friday's intraday low of $16.62 or above more near-term support at $16.25 and then once it sustains a move or close above $17.98 to $18.50 with volume that hits near or above 506,390 shares. If that move gets started soon, then SXC will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $19 to $20, or even its 200-day moving average of $20.89.

-- 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.