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."

Stocks with unusual volume are something that I tweet about on a daily basis. These are also the exact type of stocks that I love to trade and alert to my subscribers in real-time.

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.

TriCo Bancshares

  • Monday's Volume: 147,000
  • Three-Month Average Volume: 53,970
  • Volume % Change: 142%

TriCo Bancshares  (TCBK - Get Report)  provides commercial banking services to retail customers and small to medium-sized businesses in Northern and Central California. This stock traded up 2.2% to $26.79 in Monday's trading session.

From a technical perspective, TriCo Bancshares trended notably higher on Monday right above its 50-day moving average of $25.91 a share with above-average volume. This high-volume spike to the upside is now quickly pushing shares of TriCo Bancshares 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 $27 to $27.11 a share and then above more resistance at $27.46 a share with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in TriCo Bancshares as long as it's trending above its 50-day moving average of $25.91 a share or above its 200-day moving average of $24.64 a share and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 53,970 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 $28.24 to its 52-week high of $29.65, or even $32 a share.

CrossAmerica Partners 

  • Monday's Volume: 330,000
  • Three-Month Average Volume: 103,251
  • Volume % Change: 225%

CrossAmerica Partners  (CAPL - Get Report)  engages in the wholesale distribution of motor fuels, and ownership and leasing of real estate used in the retail distribution of motor fuels in the U.S. This stock traded up 6% to $25.02 in Monday's trading session.

From a technical perspective, CrossAmerica Partners ripped higher on Monday right above its 50-day moving average of $23.35 a share with strong upside volume flows. This high-volume rip to the upside pushed shares of CrossAmerica Partners into breakout territory, after the stock closed above some near-term overhead resistance at $24.31 a share. This strong spike higher is now quickly pushing this stock within range of triggering another big breakout trade. That trade will trigger if this stock manages to take out Monday's intraday high of $24.89 a share and then once it clears more key resistance levels at $25.72 to $26.39 a share with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in CrossAmerica Partners as long as it's trending above its 50-day moving average of $23.35 a share or above its 20-day moving average of $23.13 a share and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that registers near or above 103,251 shares. If that breakout kicks off soon, then this stock will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $28.50 to $30, or even $32 a share.

21Vianet Group

  • Monday's Volume: 2.68 million
  • Three-Month Average Volume: 1.13 million
  • Volume % Change: 128%

21Vianet Group  (VNET - Get Report)  provides carrier-neutral Internet data center services to Internet companies, government entities, blue-chip enterprises and small-to mid-sized enterprises in the People's Republic of China. This stock traded up 10.1% to $15.04 in Monday's trading session.

From a technical perspective, 21Vianet Group spiked sharply higher on Monday right above some near-term support at $13.50 a share with strong upside volume flows. This stock has been downtrending badly over the last month and change, with shares falling sharply off its high of $21.12 a share to its new 52-week low of $13.13 a share. During that downtrend, shares of 21Vianet Group have been consistently making lower highs and lower lows, which is bearish technical price action. That said, this stock has now started to rebound sharply off that $13.13 low and it's quickly trending within range of triggering a near-term breakout trade. That trade will trigger if this stock manages to take out Monday's intraday high of $15.22 a share and then above more key resistance just above $15.50 a share with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in 21Vianet Group as long as it's trending above $14.50 or above more near-term support at around $13.50 a share and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 1.13 million 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 $16.50 to $17.50, or even $18 to its 20-day moving average of $18.52 a share.

American Renal Associates

  • Monday's Volume: 214,000
  • Three-Month Average Volume: 424,128
  • Volume % Change: 153%

American Renal Associates  (ARA - Get Report)  owns and operates kidney dialysis facilities. This stock traded up 2.3% to $28.35 in Monday's trading session.

From a technical perspective, American Renal Associates spiked notably higher on Monday right above some near-term support at $27 a share with decent upside volume flows. This spike to the upside is now quickly pushing shares of American Renal Associates Market players should now look for a continuation move to the upside in the short-term if this stock manages to clear Monday's intraday high of $19.99 a share with strong upside volume flows.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in American Renal Associates as long as it's trending above Monday's intraday low of $19.29 a share or above more near-term support at $19 a share and then once it sustains a move or close above Monday's intraday high of $19.99 a share with volume that registers near or above 207,529 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 $22 to its 200-day moving average of $22.62, or even $24 to $24.50 a share.

China Lodging Group

  • Monday's Volume: 547,000
  • Three-Month Average Volume: 207,397
  • Volume % Change: 163%

China Lodging Group  (HTHT - Get Report) , together with its subsidiaries, develops leased, manachised and franchised hotels primarily in the People's Republic of China. This stock traded up 2% to $34.62 in Monday's trading session.

From a technical perspective, China Lodging Group spiked notably higher with strong upside volume flows. This high-volume rip to the upside is now quickly pushing shares of China Lodging Group within range of triggering a near-term breakout trade above some key overhead resistance levels. That trade will hit if this stock manages to take out some near-term overhead resistance levels at its 50-day moving average of $35.22 a share and then above its 20-day moving average of $35.63 a share with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in China Lodging Group as long as it's trending above Monday's intraday low of $32.67 a share and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 207,397 shares. If that breakout takes hold soon, then this stock will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $37 to $38, or even $38.50 to its 52-week high of $39.19 a share.

VMware

  • Monday's Volume: 5.30 million
  • Three-Month Average Volume: 2.06 million
  • Volume % Change: 141%

VMware  (VMW - Get Report)  provides virtualization and cloud infrastructure solutions in the U.S. and internationally. This stock traded up 2.3% to $59.29 in Monday's trading session.

From a technical perspective, VMware spiked sharply higher right above its 20-day moving average of $56.79 a share with strong upside volume flows. This stock has been uptrending strong over the last three months and change, with shares ripping higher off its low of $43.25 a share to its recent high of $60.32 a share. During that uptrend, shares of VMware have been making mostly higher lows and higher highs, which is bullish technical price action. This bump to the upside on Monday is now quickly pushing this stock within range of triggering a big breakout trade. That breakout will hit if this stock manages to take out Monday's intraday high of $60.32 a share and then above its 200-day moving average of $61.49 a share and above some past resistance at $62.82 a share with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in VMware as long as it's trending above its 20-day moving average of $56.79 a share and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 2.06 million shares. If that breakout develops soon, then this stock will set up to re-fill some of its previous gap-down-day zone from October of 2015 that started near $70 a share.

Southside Bancshares

  • Monday's Volume: 225,000
  • Three-Month Average Volume: 86,970
  • Volume % Change: 187%

Southside Bancshares  (SBSI - Get Report)  operates as a bank holding company for Southside Bank that provides a range of financial services to individuals, businesses, municipal entities, and nonprofit organizations. This stock traded up 2.7% to $29.53 in Monday's trading session.

From a technical perspective, Southside Bancshares jumped notably higher on Monday right off its 20-day moving average of $28.47 a share with strong upside volume flows. This stock has been uptrending strong over the last five months, with shares moving higher off its low of $19.19 a share to its recent high of $29.72 a share. During that uptrend, shares of Southside Bancshares have been consistently making higher lows and higher highs, which is bullish technical price action. This spike to the upside on Monday is now quickly pushing this stock within range of triggering a near-term breakout trade. That trade will trigger if this stock manages to clear its 52-week high of $29.96 a share with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in Southside Bancshares as long as it's trending above its 20-day moving average of $28.47 a share or above more near-term support at $28.05 a share to its 50-day moving average of $26.81 a share and then once it sustains a move or close above its 52-week high of $29.96 a share with volume that hits near or above 86,970 shares. If that breakout hits soon, then this stock will set up to make a run at $33 to $35 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.