3 Unusual-Volume Stocks to Trade for Breakouts

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.

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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.

USA Truck

USA Truck ( USAK) is a truckload carrier providing transportation of general commodities throughout the continental U.S., into and out of Mexico and into and out of portions of Canada. This stock closed up 3.2% at $13.26 in Monday's trading session.

Monday's Volume: 261,000
Three-Month Average Volume: 114,771
Volume % Change: 135%

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From a technical perspective, USAK trended higher here right off some near-term support at $12.50 with above-average volume. This stock has been trending sideways and consolidating for the last few weeks, with shares moving between $12 on the downside and $14.25 on the upside. This spike higher on Monday is now starting to push shares of USAK within range of triggering a big breakout trade above the upper end of its recent range. That breakout will hit if USAK manages to take out Monday's high of $13.35 to its 52-week high at $14.25 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in USAK as long as it's trending above $12.50 or above $12 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that's near or above 114,771 shares. If that breakout hits soon, then USAK will set up to enter new 52-week-high territory, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that breakout are $17 to $20.

Grifols

Grifols ( GRFS) is engaged in the research, development, manufacture and marketing of plasma derivatives, IV therapy, enteral nutrition, diagnostic systems and medical materials. This stock closed up 4.6% to $31.35 in Monday's trading session.

Monday's Volume: 2.26 million
Three-Month Average Volume: 321,917
Volume % Change: 508%

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From a technical perspective, GRFS gapped higher here back above its 50-day moving average of $30.44 and into breakout territory above some near-term overhead resistance at $31.19 with heavy upside volume. This move is quickly pushing shares of GRFS within range of triggering a major breakout trade. That trade will hit if GRFS manages to take out Monday's high of $31.86 to more resistance at $32.90 to its all-time high at $33.12 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in GRFS as long as it's trending above Monday's low of $31.18 or above its 50-day at $30.44 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 321,917 shares. If we get that breakout soon, then GRFS will set up to enter new all-time high territory above $33.12, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that breakout are $37 to $40.

YRC Worldwide

YRC Worldwide ( YRCW) is a less-than-truckload carrier in North America with local, regional, national and international capabilities. This stock closed up 18.4% at $10.64 in Monday's trading session.

Monday's Volume: 1.70 million
Three-Month Average Volume: 623,223
Volume % Change: 205%

From a technical perspective, YRCW skyrocketed higher here right above some near-term support at $8.25 with strong upside volume. This move is quickly pushing shares of YRCW within range of triggering a near-term breakout trade. That trade will hit if YRCW manages to take out Monday's high of $10.89 to some more resistance at $12.38 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in YRCW as long as it's trending above $10 or $9.50 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that's near or above 623,223 shares. If that breakout hits soon, then YRCW will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at its 50-day of $15.03 to its 200-day at $15.78. Any high-volume move above those levels will then give YRCW a chance to tag $17 to $18.

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.

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