3 Stocks Spiking on Unusual Volume

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.

Flotek

FTK Chart FTK data by YCharts

Flotek  (FTK) develops and supplies oilfield products, services, and equipment to the oil, gas, and mining industries in the U.S. and internationally. This stock is trading up 6.8% to $13.25 in Thursday's trading session.

Thursday's Volume: 837,000
Three-Month Average Volume: 1.05 million
Volume % Change: 97%

From a technical perspective, Flotek is ripping higher here and breaking out above some near-term overhead resistance levels at $12.77 to its 50-day moving average of $12.89 with strong upside volume flows. This strong move to the upside on Thursday is coming after shares of Flotek formed a triple bottom chart pattern over the last two months, after buyers stepped in at $11.03, $11.25 and $11.11 a share. Market players should now look for a continuation move to the upside in the short-term if this stock manages to clear some more near-term overhead resistance levels at $14 to $14.55 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in Flotek as long as it's trending above its 50-day at $12.89 or above more near-term support at $12.50 and then once it sustains a move or close above $14 to $14.55 with volume that hits near or above 1.05 million shares. If that move gets started soon, then this stock will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $16 to $17 a share.

Merrimack Pharmaceuticals

MACK Chart MACK data by YCharts

Merrimack Pharmaceuticals  (MACK), a biopharmaceutical company, engages in discovering, developing and preparing to commercialize medicines paired with companion diagnostics for the treatment of cancer primarily in the U.S. This stock is trading up 7.2% at $12.76 in Thursday's trading session.

Thursday's Volume: 1.55 million
Three-Month Average Volume: 1.25 million
Volume % Change: 147%

From a technical perspective, Merrimack Pharmaceuticals is gapping sharply higher here right above its 50-day moving average of $12.04 with strong upside volume flows. This stock has been uptrending a bit over the last few weeks, with shares moving higher from its low of $10.50 to its intraday high of $13 a share. During that uptrend, shares of Merrimack Pharmaceuticals have been consistently making higher lows and higher highs, which is bullish technical price action. That move has now pushed this stock within range of triggering a major breakout trade. That trade will hit if this stock manages to take out some key overhead resistance levels at $13.26 to its 52-week high of $13.84 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in Merrimack Pharmaceuticals as long as it's trending above its 50-day moving average of $12.04 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 1.25 million shares. If that breakout kicks off soon, then this stock will set up to enter new 52-week-high territory, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that move are $16 to $17 a share.

Worthington Industries

WOR Chart WOR data by YCharts

Worthington Industries (WOR), a metals manufacturing company, focuses on value-added steel processing and manufactured metal products in the U.S., Europe, Mexico, Canada and internationally. This stock is trading up 8.4% at $30.60 in Thursday's trading session.

Thursday's Volume: 490,000
Three-Month Average Volume: 321,458
Volume % Change: 155%

From a technical perspective, Worthington Industries is soaring sharply higher here after it broke out above some major overhead resistance levels at around $28.60 to $28.65 with strong upside volume flows. This sharp spike higher has now pushed this stock right into its 200-day moving average of $30.73. This move is now starting to send shares of Worthington Industries within range of triggering a much bigger breakout trade. That trade will hit if this stock manages to take out some key past resistance at $31.23 a share with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in Worthington Industries as long as it's trending above $30 or $29 a share and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 321,458 shares. If that breakout develops soon, then this stock will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $36 to $38 a share.

This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author held no positions in the stocks mentioned.

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