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.

Orbotech

  • Monday's Volume: 144,000
  • Three-Month Average Volume: 174,403
  • Volume % Change: 126%

Orbotech  (ORBK) provides yield-enhancing and production solutions for printed circuit boards (PCBs), liquid crystal displays (LCDs), and semiconductor devices in China, Taiwan, North America, Korea, Europe, Japan, and internationally. This stock is trading up 3.5% to $15.57 in Monday's trading session.

From a technical perspective, Orbotech is spiking sharply higher here right above some near-term support at $14.70 with above-average volume. This stock has been downtrending badly over the last five months, with shares falling sharply lower from its high of $22.34 to its recent low of $14.70 a share. During that downtrend, shares of Orbotech have been consistently making lower highs and lower lows, which is bearish technical price action. That said, this stock has now started to reverse course and spike higher off that $14.70 low, and it's now quickly moving within range of triggering a near-term breakout trade. That trade will trigger if this stock manages to clear its 20-day moving average of $15.61 and then once it takes out more key resistance at around $16 a share with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in Orbotech as long as it's trending above that recent low of $14.70 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that registers near or above 174,403 shares. If that breakout gets set off soon, then this stock will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $16.74 to its 50-day moving average of $16.78, or even $17.07 to its 200-day moving average of $17.41 a share.


Applied Genetic Technologies

  • Monday's Volume: 156,000
  • Three-Month Average Volume: 134,373
  • Volume % Change: 214%


Applied Genetic Technologies
  (AGTC) , a clinical-stage biotechnology company, develops gene therapy products to treat patients with severe inherited orphan diseases in ophthalmology in the U.S. This stock is trading up 4.2% to $13.60 in Monday's trading session.

From a technical perspective, Applied Genetic Technologies is spiking sharply higher here right above some near-term support at $13 with above-average volume. This move to the upside on Monday has briefly pushed shares of Applied Genetic Technologies into breakout territory, since the stock has flirted with some near-term resistance at $13.89. Share of Applied Genetic Technologies are now starting to trend within range of triggering a much bigger breakout trade above some key near-term overhead resistance levels. That trade will trigger if this stock manages to take out some near-term overhead resistance levels at its 20-day moving average of $14.24 to $15 a share with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in Applied Genetic Technologies as long as it's trending above Monday's intraday low of $13.48 or above more near-term support at $13 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 134,373 shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then this stock will set up to re-test or possibly take out its net major overhead resistance levels at $16.42 to $17.23, or even $18 a share.

Astronics

  • Monday's Volume: 261,000
  • Three-Month Average Volume: 202,034
  • Volume % Change: 155%

Astronics  (ATRO) , through its subsidiaries, designs and manufactures products for aerospace, defense, consumer electronics and semi-conductor industries worldwide. This stock is trading up 3.2% to $40.05 in Monday's trading session.

From a technical perspective, Astronics is jumping higher here right off its new 52-week low of $38.42 with above-average volume. This stock has been downtrending badly over the last three months, with shares falling sharply lower off its high of $73.31 to its new 52-week low of $38.42. During that downtrend, this stock has been consistently making lower highs and lower lows, which is bearish technical price action. That said, shares of Astronics have now started to spike higher off that $38.42 low and off extremely oversold territory, since its current relative strength index reading is 24.8. That spike is now quickly pushing this stock within range of triggering a near-term breakout trade. That trade will trigger if shares of Astronics manage to take out Monday's intraday high of $40.44 and then once it clears some near-term resistance at $42.50 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in Astronics as long as it's trending above its new 52-week low of $38.42 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 202,034 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 its 20-day moving average of $45.77 to $47.50, or even $50 a share.


Kindred Healthcare

  • Monday's Volume: 914,000
  • Three-Month Average Volume: 888,662
  • Volume % Change: 137%

Kindred Healthcare  (KND) provides healthcare services in the U.S. This stock is trading up 2.7% to $13.71 in Monday's trading session.

From a technical perspective, Kindred Healthcare is spiking higher here right above its new 52-week low of $12.76 with above-average volume. This stock has been downtrending badly over the last two months, with shares falling sharply lower off its high of $23.24 to its new 52-week low of $12.76 a share. During that downtrend, shares of Kindred Healthcare have been consistently making lower highs and lower lows, which is bearish technical price action. That said, this stock has now started to spike higher off extremely oversold territory, since its current relative strength index reading is 14.1. Oversold can always get more oversold, but it's also an area where a stock can make a powerful bounce higher from. Traders should now look for a continuation move to the upside in the short-term if this stock manages to take out Monday's intraday high of $14.16 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in Kindred Healthcare as long as it's trending above Monday's intraday low of $13.51 or above $13 to $12.76 and then once it sustains a move or close above Monday's intraday high of $14.16 with volume that hits near or above 888,662 shares. If that move gets underway soon, then this stock will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at around $16 to its 20-day moving average of $17.92 a share.

 

Disclosure: 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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