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.
On Assignment (ASGN) provides short- and long-term placement of contract, contract-to-hire and direct hire professionals in the U.S., Europe, Canada, China, Australia and New Zealand. This stock closed up 1.4% at $35.31 in Wednesday's trading session.
Wednesday's Volume: 1.15 million
Three-Month Average Volume: 386,568
Volume % Change: 188%
From a technical perspective, ASGN trended modestly higher here right above some near-term support levels at $34.27 to its 200-day moving average of $33.53 with above-average volume. This spike higher on Wednesday is starting to push shares of ASGN within range of triggering a near-term breakout trade. That trade will hit if ASGN manages to take out its 50-day moving average of $36.04 to some more near-term overhead resistance at $36.95 with high volume.
Traders should now look for long-biased trades in ASGN as long as it's trending above some key near-term support levels at $34.27 or above its 200-day a $33.53 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that's near or above 386,568 shares. If that breakout hits soon, then ASGN will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $38.05 to $38.18. Any high-volume move above those levels will then give ASGN a chance to re-test or possibly take out its 52-week high at $39.86.