Professional traders running mutual funds and hedge funds don't just look at a stock's price moves, they track big changes in volume activity. Often, when above-average volume moves into a stock, 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." These types of traders like to get in well before a bigger trend, so it's always a smart move to monitor unusual volume activity.

With that in mind, let's take a look at several stocks that are experiencing unusual volume activity.

Instructure

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  • Thursday's Volume: 780,000
  • Three-Month Average Volume: 184,501
  • Volume % Change: 234%

From a technical perspective, Instructure (INST) - Get Report gapped up sharply higher on Thursday and broke out above some near-term overhead resistance at $23.92 with strong upside volume. Market players should look for a continuation move to the upside in the short-term if this momentum continues.

Traders should look for long-biased trades in Instructure as long as it's trending above its 20-day at $23.24 and then once it sustains a move or close above Thursday's intraday high of $24.90 with volume that hits near or above 184,501 shares. If that move gets underway soon, then this stock will set up to re-test or possibly take out its all-time high of $26.92 a share.

Alarm.com

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  • Thursday's Volume: 1.49 million
  • Three-Month Average Volume: 188,989
  • Volume % Change: 636%

From a technical perspective, Alarm.com (ALRM) - Get Report spiked higher right above its 20-day at $29.73 with monster upside volume flows. This jump to the upside briefly pushed this stock into breakout territory above some resistance at $32.11, before it closed just below that level. This high-volume move is quickly pushing shares of Alarm.com within range of triggering a major breakout trade.

Traders should look for long-biased trades in Alarm.com as long as it's trending above Thursday's intraday low of $30.27 or above its 20-day at $29.73 and then once it breaks out above key resistance levels at $33 to its all-time high of $34.43 with volume that hits near or above 188.989 shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then this stock will set up to enter new all-time-high territory, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that breakout are $40 to $45 a share.

Williams-Sonoma

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  • Thursday's Volume: 5.18 million
  • Three-Month Average Volume: 1.32 million
  • Volume % Change: 266%

From a technical perspective, Williams-Sonoma (WSM) - Get Report gapped up notably higher on Thursday back above both its 50-day at $48.40 and its 20-day at $48.51 with heavy upside volume. This high-volume spike to the upside is quickly pushing this stock within range of triggering a big breakout trade.

Traders should look for long-biased trades in Williams-Sonoma as long as it's trending above its 50-day at $48.40 and then once it sustains a move or close above some key near-term resistance at $50.61 with volume that hits near or above 1.32 million shares. If that breakout develops soon, then this stock will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next key resistance levels at $53.50 to $55, or even $56.50 a share.

Veeva Systems

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  • Thursday's Volume: 2.99 million
  • Three-Month Average Volume: 899,578
  • Volume % Change: 176%

From a technical perspective, Veeva Systems (VEEV) - Get Report jumped higher on Friday and broke out into new all-time-high territory above some key resistance levels at $48 to $49 with heavy volume. Market players should look for a continuation move higher in the short-term if this strong uptrend remains intact.

Traders should look for long-biased trades in Veeva Systems as long as it's trending above Thursday's intraday low of $47.89 and then once it sustains a move or close above its new all-time high of $49.42 with volume that hits near or above 899,578 shares. If that move gets underway soon, then this stock will set up to enter new all-time-high territory, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that move are $55 to $60 a share.

Movado Group

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  • Thursday's Volume: 450,000
  • Three-Month Average Volume: 131,307
  • Volume % Change: 223%

From a technical perspective, Movado Group (MOV) - Get Report trended notably higher on Friday with heavy upside volume flows. This stock has been downtrending badly over the past four months, with shares moving lower off its high of $31.95 to its recent low of $21.40. During that move, this stock has been consistently making lower highs and lower lows, which is bearish technical price action. That said, shares of Movado Group have started to rebound with bullish volume, and it's quickly trending within range of triggering a near-term breakout trade.

Traders should look for long-biased trades in Movado Group as long as it's trending above support at $22 or at $21.80 and then once it sustains a move or close above some near-term resistance at $24 with volume that hits near or above 131,307 shares. If that breakout materializes soon, then this stock will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at its 50-day of $25.54 to $26, or even $27 to $28 a share.

NCR

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  • Thursday's Volume: 3.67 million
  • Three-Month Average Volume: 909,640
  • Volume % Change: 232%

From a technical perspective, NCR (NCR) - Get Report ripped sharply higher on Friday right above some near-term support at $42.05 with strong upside volume. This high-volume spike to the upside is quickly pushing this stock within range of triggering a big breakout trade.

Traders should look for long-biased trades in NCR as long as it's trending above support at $43 or at $42.05 and then once it sustains a move or close above resistance levels at $44.50 to its 50-day at $44.83 with volume near or above 909,640 shares. If that breakout fires off soon, then this stock will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at its 20-day of $47.38 to $49, or even its 52-week high of $49.90 a share.

This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author held no positions in the stocks mentioned.