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.
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.
Matrix Service (MTRX) provides engineering, fabrication, infrastructure, construction and maintenance services primarily to the oil, gas, power, petrochemical, industrial and mining and minerals markets principally in the U.S. and Canada. This stock closed up 18.4% at $33.57 in Friday's trading session.
Friday's Volume: 699,000
Three-Month Average Volume: 228,040
Volume % Change: 321%
From a technical perspective, MTRX gapped up sharply higher here back above its 50-day moving average of $32.70 with heavy upside volume. This move is starting to push shares of MTRX within range of triggering a big breakout trade. That trade will hit if MTRX manages to take out some near-term overhead resistance levels at $34.05 to its 52-week high at $35.34 with high volume.
Traders should now look for long-biased trades in MTRX as long as it's trending above Friday's low of $30.76 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that this near or above 228,040 shares. If that breakout materializes soon, then MTRX will set up to enter new 52-week-high territory, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that breakout are $40 to $45.