MADISON, 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." >>5 Stocks Poised to Pop on Bullish Earnings 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. >>5 Stocks the Pros Love This Summer Valeant Pharmaceuticals Valeant Pharmaceuticals ( VRX) is a specialty pharmaceutical company that develops, manufactures and markets a broad range of pharmaceutical products primarily in the areas of neurology, dermatology and branded generics. This stock closed up 0.6% at $86.41on Wednesday. Wednesday's Volume: 8.34 million
Average Volume: 1.77 million
Volume % Change: 418% Shares of VRX jumped modestly higher on Wednesday after the company said it raised $2 billion in an offering of its common shares, which will be used to help fund its planned $8.7 billion acquisition of global eye-care company Bausch & Lomb. >>3 Health Care Stock Under $10 to Watch From a technical perspective, VRX bounced higher here right above some near-term support at $82 with heavy upside volume. This move is quickly pushing shares of VRX within range of triggering a near-term breakout trade. That trade will hit if VRX manages to take out some near-term overhead resistance at $88.67 with high volume. Traders should now look for long-biased trades in VRX as long as it's trending above some key near-term support $83.86 and then once it sustains a move or close above $88.67 with volume that hits near or above 1.77 million shares. If we get that breakout soon, then VRX will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $92 to $92.50. Any high-volume move above those levels will then put its next major overhead resistance level at $96.25 into range for shares of VRX.
Average Volume: 878,311
Volume % Change: 202% Shares of NKTR ripped higher on Wednesday after the company reported positive top-line results for experimental drug NKTR-181 to treat chronic pain. >>5 Buy Signals From the Health Care Sector From a technical perspective, NKTR skyrocketed higher back above its 50-day moving average of $10.06 with heavy upside volume. This move is quickly pushing shares of NKTR within range of triggering a major breakout trade, which will hit if NKTR manages to take out some near-term overhead resistance levels at $10.91 to $11.34. NKTR hit an intraday high of $11.07 on Wednesday, and volume was well above its three-month average action of 878,311 shares. Traders should now look for long-biased trades in NKTR as long as it's trending above its 50-day at $10.06 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 878,311 shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then NKTR will set up to enter new 52-week-high territory above $11.34, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that breakout are $13 to $14. Healthways Healthways ( HWAY) provides well-being improvement solutions that help people improve their physical, emotional and social well-being, thereby improving their health and productivity and reducing their health-related costs. This stock closed up 8.3% to $15.18 on Wednesday. Wednesday's Volume: 391,000
Average Volume: 175,280
Volume % Change: 118% Shares of HWAY ripped higher on Wednesday after William Blair analyst Ryan Daniels said the company is emerging as a strong growth story again. >>5 Stocks Insiders Love Right Now From a technical perspective, HWAY soared higher here right off some near-term support at $14 with heavy upside volume. This move briefly pushed shares of HWAY into breakout territory, since the stock flirted with its previous 52-week high at $15.24 with high volume. At last check, HWAY hit an intraday high of $15.49 and volume was well above its three-month average action of 175,280 shares.
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