4 Big-Volume Stocks to Trade for Breakouts: Big Lots, Fresh Market and More

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.

Esperion Therapeutics

Esperion Therapeutics  (ESPR), a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company, focuses on the research, development and commercialization of oral, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol lowering therapies for the treatment of patients with hypercholesterolemia and other cardiometabolic risk markers. This stock is trading up 6.8% to $67.49 in Friday's trading session.

Friday's Volume: 403,000
Three-Month Average Volume: 371,292
Volume % Change: 150%

From a technical perspective, ESPR is spiking sharply higher here right above some near-term support at around $60 with above-average volume. This stock has been in a monster uptrend for the last five months, with shares moving higher from its low of $18 to its recent high of $70.87. During that uptrend, shares of ESPR have been consistently making higher lows and higher highs, which is bullish technical price action. This jump to the upside on Friday is now starting to push shares of ESPR within range of triggering a major breakout trade above some key near-term overhead resistance levels. That trade will trigger if ESPR manages to clear some key overhead resistance levels at $70 to its all-time high of $70.87 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in ESPR as long as it's trending above Friday's intraday low of $63.62 or above more near-term support around $60 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 371,292 shares. If that breakout begins soon, then ESPR will set up to enter new all-time-high territory, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that move are $75 to $80, or even $85 a share.

The Fresh Market

The Fresh Market  (TFM) operates as a specialty food retailer in the U.S. This stock is trading up 4.8% to $41.53 in Friday's trading session.

Friday's Volume: 1.55 million
Three-Month Average Volume: 542,327
Volume % Change: 508%

From a technical perspective, TFM is gapping sharply higher here right above its 50-day moving average of $38.67 with strong upside volume flows. This stock recently formed a double bottom chat pattern, after shares found buying interest at $35.68 to $35.51. Following that bottom, shares of TFM have started to rip higher and move back above its 50-day moving average. This gap to the upside on Friday is now quickly pushing shares of TFM within range of triggering a major breakout trade. That trade will hit if TFM manages to clear some near-term overhead resistance levels at $41.93 to its 52-week high at $42.12 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in TFM as long as it's trending above Friday's intraday low of $40.32 or above its 50-day moving average of $38.67 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 542,327 shares. If that breakout develops soon, then TFM will set up to re-fill some of its previous gap-down-day zone from November of 2013 that started just above $50.

JDS Uniphase

JDS Uniphase  (JDSU) provides network and service enablement solutions and optical products worldwide. This stock is trading up 3.6% to $13.81 in Friday's trading session.

Friday's Volume: 2.91 million
Three-Month Average Volume: 2.63 million
Volume % Change: 146%

From a technical perspective, JDSU is ripping higher here right off its 50-day moving average of $13.34 and right above some near-term support at $13.06 with above-average volume. This bump to the upside is now quickly pushing shares of JDSU within range of triggering a major breakout trade. That trade will hit if JDSU manages to take out some key near-term overhead resistance levels at $14.25 to its 52-week high of $14.99 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in JDSU as long as it's trending above some key near-term support at $13.06 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that registers near or above 2.63 million shares. If that breakout develops soon, then JDSU will set up to enter new 52-week-high territory, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that breakout are $16 to $17 a share.

Big Lots

Big Lots  (BIG), through its subsidiaries, operates as a broadline closeout retailer in the U.S. This stock is trading up 3.7% to $49.60 in Friday's trading session.

Friday's Volume: 1.70 million
Three-Month Average Volume: 1.12 million
Volume % Change: 322%

From a technical perspective, BIG is spiking notably higher here right above some near-term support at $47 with above-average volume. This stock has been uptrending strong for the last three months, with shares moving higher from its low of $38.15 to its intraday high of $49.90 a share. During that uptrend, shares of BIG have been consistently making higher lows and higher highs, which is bullish technical price action. This spike to the upside on Friday is now starting to push shares of BIG within range of triggering a big breakout trade. That trade will trigger if BIG manages to clear its 52-week high of $51.75 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in BIG as long as it's trending above some near-term support at $47 or above its 50-day moving average of $45.40 and then once it sustains a move or close above its 52-week high of $51.75 with volume that registers near or above 1.12 million shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then BIG will set up to enter new 52-week-high territory, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that move are $55 to $60.

This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author held TK positions in the stocks mentioned.

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