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.

Life Storage

  • Wednesday's Volume: 893,000
  • Three-Month Average Volume: 608,416
  • Volume % Change: 972%

Life Storage  (LSI - Get Report)  is a real estate investment trust that invests in the real estate markets of U.S. This stock closed up 2.2% to $93.87 in Wednesday's trading session.

From a technical perspective, Life Storage spiked notably higher on Wednesday right above its 20-day moving average of $90.61 a share with strong upside volume flows. This stock has been uptrending a bit over the last few weeks, with shares moving higher off its new 52-week low of $86.45 a share to its intraday high on Wednesday of $93.93 a share. During that uptrend, shares of Life Storage have been consistently making higher lows and higher highs, which is bullish technical price action. This bump higher on Wednesday is now quickly pushing shares of Life Storage within range of triggering a major breakout trade. That trade will trigger if this stock manages to clear Wednesday's intraday high of $93.93 a share and then once it takes out more key resistance at $94.96 a share with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in Life Storage as long as it's trending above its 20-day moving average of $90.61 a share and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 608,416 shares. If that breakout hits soon, then this stock will set up to re-fill some of its previous gap-down-day zone from August that started near $102 a share.

Zynerba Pharmaceuticals

  • Wednesday's Volume: 654,000
  • Three-Month Average Volume: 181,800
  • Volume % Change: 331%

Zynerba Pharmaceuticals  (ZYNE - Get Report) , a specialty pharmaceutical company, focuses on developing and commercializing proprietary synthetic cannabinoid therapeutics formulated for transdermal delivery. This stock closed up 8.5% to $10.26 in Wednesday's trading session.

From a technical perspective, Zynerba Pharmaceuticals ripped sharply higher on Wednesday right off its 20-day moving average of $9.49 a share with strong upside volume flows. This high-volume rip to the upside is now quickly pushing shares of Zynerba Pharmaceuticals within range of triggering a major breakout trade above a number of key overhead resistance levels. That trade will trigger if this stock manages to take out some near-term overhead resistance levels at $10.74 to $11.15 a share and then once it clears some past resistance levels at $11.68 to $12.07 a share with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in Zynerba Pharmaceuticals as long as it's trending above its 20-day moving average of $9.49 a share or above its 200-day moving average of $8.93 a share and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 181,800 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 $14 to $14.50, or even $15 to $16 a share.

Reata Pharmaceuticals

  • Wednesday's Volume: 353,000
  • Three-Month Average Volume: 109,441
  • Volume % Change: 364%

Reata Pharmaceuticals  (RETA - Get Report) , a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company, focuses on identifying, developing and commercializing product candidates that modulate the activity of key regulatory proteins involved in the biology of mitochondrial function, oxidative stress and inflammation to address the unmet medical needs of patients with various serious or life-threatening diseases. This stock closed up 18.7% to $24.99 in Wednesday's trading session.

From a technical perspective, Reata Pharmaceuticals gapped-up sharply higher on Wednesday with strong upside volume flows. This high-volume explosion to the upside is now quickly pushing shares of Reata Pharmaceuticals within range of triggering a major breakout trade above some key overhead resistance levels. That trade will trigger if this stock manages to take out Wednesday's intraday high of $25.95 a share and then once it clears its all-time high of $26.90 a share with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in Reata Pharmaceuticals as long as it's trending above Wednesday's intraday low of $22.45 a share or above its previous breakout levels at $20.62 to $20.55 a share and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 109,441 shares. If that breakout triggers soon, then this stock will set up to enter new all-time-high territory, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that breakout are $30 to $35, or even $40 a share.

Natural Resource Partners

  • Wednesday's Volume: 347,000
  • Three-Month Average Volume: 77,705
  • Volume % Change: 419%

Natural Resource Partners  (NRP - Get Report)  owns, operates, manages and leases a portfolio of mineral properties in the U.S., including interests in coal, trona and soda ash, crude oil and natural gas, construction aggregates, frac sand and other natural resources. This stock closed up 13.8% to $22.14 in Wednesday's trading session.

From a technical perspective, Natural Resource Partners ripped sharply higher on Wednesday right off its 20-day moving average of$19.54 a share and back above its 50-day moving average of $20.15 a share with strong upside volume flows. This high-volume spike to the upside managed to push shares of Natural Resource Partners into breakout territory, after the stock closed above some near-term overhead resistance at $21.95 a share. Market players should now look for a continuation move to the upside in the short-term if this stock manage to take out Wednesday's intraday high of $22.42 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in Natural Resource Partners as long as it's trending above Wednesday's intraday low of $19.62 a share and then once it sustains a move or close above Wednesday's intraday high of $22.42 a share with volume that registers near or above 77,705 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 $24 to $27, or even $29 a share.

DCP Midstream Partners

  • Wednesday's Volume: 1.58 million
  • Three-Month Average Volume: 433,252
  • Volume % Change: 245%

DCP Midstream Partners  (DPM) , together with its subsidiaries, owns, operates, acquires and develops a portfolio of midstream energy assets in the U.S. This stock closed up 2.2% to $34.82 in Wednesday's trading session.

From a technical perspective, DCP Midstream Partners spiked notably higher on Wednesday right off its 20-day moving average of $33.95 a share with strong upside volume flows. This high-volume bump to the upside is now quickly pushing shares of DCP Midstream Partners 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 $35 to $35.50 a share and then above more resistance at $35.93 a share with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in DCP Midstream Partners as long as it's trending above its 50-day moving average of $33.74 a share or above more near-term support around $32 a share and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 433,252 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 $37.25 to its 52-week high of $38.15, or even $40 a share.

Western Digital

  • Wednesday's Volume: million 18.60 million
  • Three-Month Average Volume: 4.99 million
  • Volume % Change: 277%

Western Digital  (WDC - Get Report)  engages in the development, manufacture, sale and provision of data storage solutions that enable consumers, businesses, governments, and other organizations to create, manage, experience and preserve digital content worldwide. This stock closed up 12% to $53.30 in Wednesday's trading session.

From a technical perspective, Western Digital gapped-up large on Wednesday back above both its 200-day moving average of $47.55 a share and its 50-day moving average of $47.79 a share with monster upside volume flows. This high-volume explosion to the upside also managed to push shares of Western Digital into a previous gap-down-day zone from August that started above $51 a share.

This stock is now quickly trending within range of triggering another big breakout trade above some key overhead resistance levels. That trade will trigger if this stock manages to take out Wednesday's intraday high of $54.18 a share and then once it clears more near-term resistance at $54.56 a share with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in Western Digital as long as it's trending above its previous gap-down-day high of $51 a share or above Wednesday's intraday low of $49.56 a share and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 4.99 million 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 $60 to $60.50, or even $63 to $65 a share.

TEGNA

TEGNA (TGNA) engages in media and digital businesses in the U.S. This stock closed up 8.9% to $21.81 in Wednesday's trading session.

Wednesday's Volume: 6.50 million
Three-Month Average Volume: 1.66 million
Volume % Change: 299%

From a technical perspective, TEGNA ripped sharply higher on Wednesday back above its 20-day moving average of $20.88 a share with monster upside volume flows. This high-volume spike to the upside also managed to push shares of TEGNA into breakout territory, since the stock closed above some near-term overhead resistance levels at $21 to $21.50 a share. Market players should now look for a continuation move to the upside in the short-term if shares of TEGNA manage to take out both its 50-day moving average of $22.07 a share and some near-term resistance at $22.50 a share with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in TEGNA as long as it's trending above its 20-day moving average of $20.88 a share or above Wednesday's intraday low of $20.63 a share and then once it sustains a move or close above $22.07 to $22.50 a share with volume that hits near or above 1.66 million shares. If that move develops soon, then this stock will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at its 200-day moving average of $23.21 a share or $25 a share.

Francesca's Holdings

Francesca's Holdings (FRAN), through its subsidiaries, operates a chain of retail boutiques. This stock closed up 7% to $14.97 in Wednesday's trading session.

Wednesday's Volume: 6,52 million
Three-Month Average Volume: 968,128
Volume % Change: 790%

From a technical perspective, Francesca's Holdings gapped-up sharply higher on Wednesday and briefly traded back above its 200-day moving average of $15.22 a share with monster upside volume flows. This stock has been uptrending very strong over the last three months and change, with shares ripping higher off its new 52-week low of $9.75 a share to its intraday high on Wednesday of $15.90 a share. During that uptrend, this stock has been consistently making higher lows and higher highs, which is bullish technical price action. Market players should now look for a continuation move to the upside in the short-term if shares of Francesca's Holdings manage to take out Wednesday's intraday high of $15.90 a share with strong volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in Francesca's Holdings as long as it's trending above Wednesday's intraday low of $14.33 a share or above its 20-day moving average of $13.89 a share to more near-term support at $13.35 a share and then once it sustains a move or close above Wednesday's intraday high of $15.90 a share with volume that registers near or above 968,128 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 $16.60 to $17, or even $17.60 to $18.60 a share.

-- Written by Roberto Pedone in Delafield, Wis.

Follow Stockpickr on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.

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

Roberto Pedone, based out of Delafield, Wis., is an independent trader who focuses on technical analysis for small- and large-cap stocks, options, futures, commodities and currencies. Roberto studied international business at the Milwaukee School of Engineering, and he spent a year overseas studying business in Lubeck, Germany. His work has appeared on financial outlets including CNBC.com and Forbes.com. You can follow Pedone on Twitter at www.twitter.com/zerosum24 or @zerosum24.

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