3 Big-Volume Biotech 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.

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.

With that in mind, let's take a look at several stocks rising on unusual volume recently.

Relypsa

Relypsa (RLYP) , a pharmaceutical company, focuses on the development and commercialization of non-absorbed polymeric drugs to treat disorders in the areas of renal, cardiovascular and metabolic diseases in the U.S. This stock closed up 3.2% to $26.49 in Monday's trading session.

Monday's Volume: 513,000
Three-Month Average Volume: 267,130
Volume % Change: 85%

From a technical perspective, RLYP jumped higher here right above some near-term support at $25.22 with above-average volume. This spike higher on Monday is starting to push shares of RLYP within range of triggering a major breakout trade. That trade will hit if RLYP manages to take out Monday's intraday high of $26.87 and then once it clears more key near-term resistance levels at $27.60 to $28.30 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in RLYP as long as it's trending above some near-term support at $25.22 or above its 50-day at $24.40 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 267,130 shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then RLYP will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $30 to $32.50, or even $35.

Ultragenyx Pharmaceuticals

Ultragenyx Pharmaceuticals (RARE) , a development-stage biotechnology company, focuses on the identification, acquisition, development and commercialization of various products for the treatment of rare and ultra-rare diseases in the U.S. This stock closed up 1.9% at $53.33 in Monday's trading session.

Monday's Volume: 972,806
Three-Month Average Volume: 323,852
Volume % Change: 150%

From a technical perspective, RARE moved modestly higher here right off some near-term support at $51.82 with above-average volume. This stock has been uptrending tremendously strong for the last two months, with shares moving higher from its low of $37.77 to its recent high of $57.24. During that uptrend, shares of RARE have been making mostly higher lows and higher highs, which is bullish technical price action. This spike to the upside on Monday is now starting to push shares of RARE within range of triggering a near-term breakout trade. That trade will hit if RARE manages to take out Monday's intraday high of $55.22 to some more near-term resistance at $57.24 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in RARE as long as it's trending above some near-term support at $51.82 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 323,852 shares. If that breakout begins soon, then RARE will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $60 to $65.

Tonix Pharmaceuticals

Tonix Pharmaceuticals (TNXP) , a development stage specialty pharmaceutical company, focuses on the identification and development of pharmaceutical products for the disorders of central nervous system. This stock closed up 5.2% to $14.55 in Monday's trading session.

Monday's Volume: 203,000
Three-Month Average Volume: 94,997
Volume % Change: 128%

From a technical perspective, TNXP ripped sharply higher here right above some near-term support around $13.50 with above-average volume. This stock has been uptrending very strong for the last two months, with shares moving higher from its low of $10.81 to its recent high of $14.75. During that move, shares of TNXP have been making mostly higher lows and higher highs, which is bullish technical price action. This strong move to the upside on Monday is now quickly pushing shares of TNXP within range of triggering a major breakout trade. That trade will hit if TNXP manages to take out some key near-term overhead resistance levels at $14.75 to $15.04 and then above some past resistance at $15.88 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in TNXP as long as it's trending above some near-term support levels at $13.50 to $13.08 or above its 50-day at $12.59 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 94,997 shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then TNXP will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $20 to its 52-week high at $21.

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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