Professional traders running mutual funds and hedge funds don't just look at a stock's price move, they track big changes in volume activity. When above-average volume moves into an equity, it often 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 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.

Traders like these prefer 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. You can 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.

TimkenSteel

TimkenSteel (TMST) manufactures and sells worldwide alloy steel, as well as carbon and micro-alloy steel products. This stock closed up 12.1% to $19.88 in Friday's trading session.

  • Friday's Volume: 2.41 million
  • Three-Month Average Volume: 612,118
  • Volume % Change: 315%

From a technical perspective, TimkenSteel ripped sharply higher on Friday and broke out above some near-term overhead resistance levels at $17.61 to $18.63 a share with strong upside volume flows. This high-volume breakout also managed to push this stock into a new 52-week-high territory after the stock closed above its previous high of $18.63 a share. Market players should now look for a continuation move to the upside in the short-term, if shares of TimkenSteel manage to take out its new 52-week high of $20.15 a share with strong volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in TimkenSteel, as long as it's trending above Friday's intraday low of $18.50 a share, or above a previous breakout level of $17.50 a share. It will also need to sustain a move close to or above its new 52-week high of $20.15 a share with volume that hits near, or above, 612,118 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 $22.50 to $25 a share.

Crescent Point Energy

Crescent Point Energy (CPG) acquires, explores, develops and produces oil and natural gas properties in Western Canada and the U.S. This stock closed up 7.7% to $12.41 in Friday's trading session.

  • Friday's Volume: 4.76 million
  • Three-Month Average Volume: 1.13 million
  • Volume % Change: 362%

From a technical perspective, Crescent Point Energy spiked sharply higher on Friday, back above its 20-day moving average of $11.58 a share with strong upside volume flows. This high-volume rip to the upside is now quickly pushing shares of Crescent Point Energy within range of triggering a near-term breakout trade. That trade will trigger if this stock manages to take out some near-term overhead resistance levels at $12.50 to its 50-day moving average of $12.62 a share with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in Crescent Point Energy, as long as it's trending above some near-term support at $11.25 a share and once it sustains a move close or above those breakout levels, with volume that hits near or above 1.13 million 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 level at $13.25 to its 200-day moving average of $13.96 a share.

Entercom Communications

Entercom Communications (ETM) operates as a radio broadcasting company in the U.S. This stock closed up 3.3% to $15.50 in Friday's trading session.

  • Friday's Volume: 448,000
  • Three-Month Average Volume: 132,845
  • Volume % Change: 315%

From a technical perspective, Entercom Communications spiked sharply higher on Friday right off its 20-day moving average of $14.88 a share and back above its 50-day moving average of $15.12 a share with strong upside volume flows. This high-volume jump to the upside 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 $15.85 to its 52-week high of $16.55 a share with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in Entercom Communications as long as it's trending above its 20-day moving average of $14.88 a share and once it sustains a move close or above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 132,845 shares. If that breakout hits 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 $18 to $20 a share.

Encore Wire

Encore Wire (WIRE) manufactures and sells electrical building wire and cable products for interior electrical wiring in the U.S. This stock closed up 9.3% to $47.85 in Friday's trading session.

  • Friday's Volume: 341,000
  • Three-Month Average Volume: 86,665
  • Volume % Change: 341%

From a technical perspective, Encore Wire gapped-up sharply higher on Friday and broke out above some near-term overhead resistance levels at $44.25 to $45.70 a share and then above $46.38 a share with strong upside volume flows. This high-volume rip to the upside managed to push this stock into new 52-week-high territory. Market players should now look for a continuation move to the upside in the short-term if shares of Encore Wire manage to clear Friday's intraday high of $48.45 a share with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in Encore Wire, as long as it's trending above Friday's intraday low of $45.30 a share and then once it sustains a move above, or close to, $48.45 a share with volume that hits near or above 86,665 shares. If that move gets underway 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 $52.50 to $55, or even $57.50 a share.

Shutterfly

Shutterfly (SFLY) manufactures and retails personalized products and services primarily in the U.S. and Canada, as well as in the European Community. This stock closed up 1.3% to $48.06 in Friday's trading session.

  • Friday's Volume: 5.73 million
  • Three-Month Average Volume: 638,847
  • Volume % Change: 837%

From a technical perspective, Shutterfly spiked modestly higher on Friday back above its 20-day moving average of $47.57 a share with monster upside volume flows. This stock has been uptrending over the last few weeks, with shares moving higher off its low of $42.09 a share to its intraday high on Friday of $48.20 a share. During that move, 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 in the short-term if shares of Shutterfly manage to clear Friday's intraday high of $48.20 a share to its 200-day moving average of $48.67 a share with strong volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in Shutterfly as long as it's trending above Friday's intraday low of $47.02 a share and then once it sustains a move or close above $48.20 to $48.67 a share with volume that hits near or above 638,847 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 its 50-day moving average of $49.76 a share to $51, or even $52 to $53 a share.

Cognex

Cognex (CGNX) provides machine vision products that capture and analyze visual information in order to automate tasks primarily in manufacturing processes worldwide. This stock closed up 8.5% to $76.44 in Friday's trading session.

  • Friday's Volume: 2.03 million
  • Three-Month Average Volume: 546,739
  • Volume % Change: 296%

From a technical perspective, Cognex gapped-up sharply higher on Friday and broke out above some near-term overhead resistance at $70.67 a share with heavy upside volume flows. Market players should now look for a continuation move to the upside in the short-term if shares of Cognex manage to clear Friday's intraday high of $77.93 a share with strong upside volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in Cognex as long as it's trending above its previous breakout level of $70.67 a share or above its 20-day moving average of $68.81 a share and then once it sustains a move or close above Friday's intraday high of $77.93 a share with volume that hits near or above 546,739 shares. If that move gets underway soon, then this stock will set up to make a run at $80 to $85 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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