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.

Columbia Sportswear

  • Monday's Volume: 1.02 million
  • Three-Month Average Volume: 480,510
  • Volume % Change: 108%

Columbia Sportswear  (COLM)  designs, sources, markets and distributes outdoor and active lifestyle apparel, footwear, accessories and equipment in the U.S., Latin America, the Asia Pacific, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Canada. This stock traded up 1% to $49.38 in Monday's trading session.

From a technical perspective, Columbia Sportswear trended modestly higher on Monday right above both its 50-day moving average of $47.36 a share and its 20-day moving average of $47.85 a share with strong upside volume flows. This high-volume spike to the upside is now quickly pushing shares of Columbia Sportswear within range of triggering a near-term breakout trade above some key overhead resistance levels. That trade will trigger if this stock manages to take out some near-term overhead resistance levels at $51.18 to $51.53 a share with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in Columbia Sportswear as long as it's trending above its 20-day moving average of $47.85 a share or above its 50-day moving average of $47.36 a share and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 480,510 shares. If that breakout hits soon, then this stock will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $55 to its 200-day moving average of $56.54 a share.

ResMed

  • Monday's Volume: 1.87 million
  • Three-Month Average Volume: 1.06 million
  • Volume % Change: 92%

ResMed  (RMD)  develops, manufactures, distributes and markets medical equipment for the diagnosis, treatment and management of respiratory disorders with a focus on sleep-disordered breathing. This stock traded up 1.8% to $58.66 in Monday's trading session.

From a technical perspective, ResMed spiked modestly higher on Monday versus the overall market weakness with above-average volume. This stock recently gapped-up off its 20-day moving average of $53.72 to $60 a share with strong upside volume flows. Shares of ResMed are now starting to trend within range of triggering a big 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 $60 to $60.35 a share with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in ResMed as long as it's trending above some near-term support at $57.50 a share or above its 200-day moving average of $56.54 a share and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that registers near or above 1.06 million shares. If that breakout gets set off soon, then this stock will set up to re-fill some of its previous gap-down-day zone from March of 2015 that started just above $64 a share.

Quality Systems

  • Monday's Volume: 1.21 million
  • Three-Month Average Volume: 572,637
  • Volume % Change: 121%

Quality Systems  (QSII)  develops and markets health care information systems that automate medical and dental practices, and networks of practices in the U.S. This stock traded up 6.7% to $17.02 in Monday's trading session.

From a technical perspective, Quality Systems gapped-up sharply higher on Monday with strong upside volume flows. This move to the upside is coming after shares of Quality Systems fell off its recent high of $17.50 to its low of $15.09 a share. This large spike higher on Monday has now pushed this stock back above its 20-day moving average of $16.50 a share, and its' quickly moving this name within range of triggering a near-term breakout trade. That trade will trigger if this stock manages to take out some key overhead resistance levels at $17.50 to $17.90 a share volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in Quality Systems as long as it's trending above Monday's intraday low of $16.36 or above its 50-day moving average of $15.83 a share and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 572,637 shares. If that breakout fires off soon, then this stock will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at its 52-week high of $18.75 to $19.50, or even $21 to $22 a share.

Targa Resources Partners

  • Monday's Volume: 3.20 million
  • Three-Month Average Volume: 1.95 million
  • Volume % Change: 93%

Targa Resources Partners  (NGLS)  owns, operates, acquires and develops midstream energy assets in the U.S. This stock traded up 4.5% to $13.16 in Monday's trading session.

From a technical perspective, Targa Resources Partners trended sharply higher on Monday versus the overall market weakness with strong upside volume flows. This high-volume move to the upside briefly pushed shares of Targa Resources Partners back above its 20-day moving average of $13.41, before the stock closed just below that level at $13.16 a share. This stock is now quickly moving within range of triggering a big breakout trade above some key near-term overhead resistance levels. That trade will hit if this stock manages to take out some near-term overhead resistance levels at Monday's intraday high of $13.66 to $14 a share with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in Targa Resources Partners as long as it's trending above some near-term support at $12 a share and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that registers near or above 1.95 million shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then this stock will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $16 to $16.82, or even its 50-day moving average of $17.56 to $18 a share.

Acorda Therapeutics

  • Monday's Volume: 1.19 million
  • Three-Month Average Volume: 623,584
  • Volume % Change: 101%

Acorda Therapeutics  (ACOR) , a biopharmaceutical company, identifies, develops and commercializes novel therapies for neurological disorders in the U.S. This stock traded up 4.9% to $39.89 in Monday's trading session.

From a technical perspective, Acorda Therapeutics spiked sharply higher on Monday displaying relative strength versus the overall market weakness with strong upside volume flows. This high-volume trend to the upside pushed this stock back above its 50-day moving average of $39.19, and right into its 20-day moving average of $40.58 a share. This spike is now quickly pushing shares of Acorda Therapeutics within range of triggering a near-term breakout trade above some key overhead resistance levels. That trade will trigger if this stock manages to take out some near-term overhead resistance levels at Monday's intraday high of $40.57 to $42 a share and then above more resistance at $42.29 a share with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in Acorda Therapeutics as long as it's trending above its 50-day moving average of $39.19 a share or above more near-term support at $37 a share and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 623,584 shares. If that breakout materializes soon, then this stock will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance level at its 52-week high of $44.99 a share. Any high-volume move above that level will then give this stock a chance to make a run at $50 a share.

Enviva Partners

  • Monday's Volume: 490,000
  • Three-Month Average Volume: 101,481
  • Volume % Change: 355%

Enviva Partners (EVA)  focuses on the production and distribution of utility-grade wood pellets to power generators. This stock traded u 6.3% to $17.34 in Monday's trading session.

From a technical perspective, Enviva Partners ripped sharply higher on Monday right above its 20-day moving average of $16.453 a share, and displayed some relative strength versus the overall market weakness with strong upside volume flows. This high-volume spike to the upside is now quickly pushing shares of Enviva Partners within range of triggering a big breakout trade above some key near-term overhead resistance levels. That trade will trigger if this stock manages to take out Monday's intraday high of $17.86 a share and then above some key near-term resistance at $18.30 a share with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in Enviva Partners as long as it's trending above its 20-day moving average of $16.53 a share or above its 50-day moving average of $15.86 a share and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 101,481 shares. If that breakout gets started soon, then this stock will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $19 to $20, or even $21 to its 52-week high of $22.46 a share.

Asbury Automotive Group

  • Monday's Volume: 1.70 million
  • Three-Month Average Volume: 409,437
  • Volume % Change: 341%

Asbury Automotive Group  (ABG)  operates as an automotive retailer in the U.S. This stock traded up 2.8% to $49.33 in Monday's trading session.

From a technical perspective, Asbury Automotive Group spiked notably higher on Monday and displayed relative strength versus the overall market weakness with strong upside volume flows. This stock has been downtrending badly over the last three months and change, with shares falling sharply lower off its high of $87.63 to its new 52-week low of $44.81 a share. During that downtrend, shares of Asbury Automotive Group 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 that $44.81 low, and it's quickly moving within range of triggering a near-term breakout trade. That trade will hit if this stock manages to take out Monday's intraday high of $50.94 a share to some more resistance just above $52.50 a share with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in Asbury Automotive Group as long as it's trending above Monday's intraday low of $48.72 a share or above more key support at $47.50 a share and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 409,437 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 $55 to its 20-day moving average of $56.76, or even $57.50 to $60 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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