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.
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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.
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With that in mind, let's take a look at several stocks rising on unusual volume recently.
Mid-America Apartment Communities
Mid-America Apartment Communities (MAA) is an independent real estate investment trust. The firm invests in the real estate markets of the U.S. This stock closed up 0.7% to $72.35 in Friday's trading session.
Friday's Volume: 1.05 million
Three-Month Average Volume: 446,588
Volume % Change: 205%
From a technical perspective, MAA trended modestly higher here right above some near-term support at $71 to $70.76 with strong upside volume flows. This stock has been uptrending strong for the last six months, with shares moving higher from its low of $57.91 to its recent high of $72.89. During that uptrend, shares of MAA have been consistently making higher lows and higher highs, which is bullish technical price action. This spike higher on Friday is starting to push shares of MAA within range of triggering a near-term breakout trade. That trade will hit if MAA manages to take out Friday's intraday high of $72.58 to some more near-term overhead resistance levels at $72.80 to its 52-week high at $72.89 with high volume.
Traders should now look for long-biased trades in MAA as long as it's trending above some key near-term support levels at $71 or at $70.76 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 446,588 shares. If that breakout materializes soon, then MAA will set up to enter new 52-week-high territory, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that breakout are $78 to $80.
EnPro Industries (NPO) designs, develops, manufactures, and markets engineered industrial products in the U.S., Europe, and internationally. This stock closed up 0.8% at $73.39 in Friday's trading session.
Friday's Volume: 464,000
Three-Month Average Volume: 143,150
Volume % Change: 168%
From a technical perspective, NPO trended modestly higher here right above its 50-day moving average of $71.43 with above-average volume. This move higher on Friday briefly pushed shares of NPO into breakout territory, after the stock either cleared or flirted with some near-term overhead resistance levels at $73.11 to $74.10 and $74.53. Shares of NPO closed just below its intraday high of $74.59 to finish trading at $73.39. Market players should now look for a continuation move higher in the short-term if NPO manages to take out Friday's intraday high of $74.59 with strong volume.
Traders should now look for long-biased trades in NPO as long as it's trending above Friday's low of $722.82 or above its 50-day at $71.43 and then once it move sustains a move or close above $74.59 with volume that this near or above 143,150 shares. If that move starts soon, then NPO will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $77.41 to its 52-week high at $80.
IDT (IDT) operates as a telecommunications company. This stock closed up 3.1% at $16.58 in Friday's trading session.
Friday's Volume: 183,000
Three-Month Average Volume: 80,597
Volume % Change: 136%
From a technical perspective, IDT ripped higher here right off its 50-day moving average of $16.08 with above-average volume. This move also pushed shares of IDT into breakout territory, since the stock took out some near-term overhead resistance levels at $16.30 to $16.50. Shares of IDT are now starting to trend within range of triggering another big breakout trade. That trade will hit if IDT manages to take out some near-term overhead resistance levels at $16.80 to $17.19 and then once it clears its 200-day moving average of $17.61 with high volume.
Traders should now look for long-biased trades in IDT as long as it's trending above its 50-day at $16.08 or above more support at $15.50 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 80,597 shares. If that breakout begins soon, then IDT will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance levels at $19.13 to $20.55.
To see more stocks rising on unusual volume, check out the Stocks Rising on Unusual Volume portfolio on Stockpickr.
-- Written by Roberto Pedone in Delafield, Wis.
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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 includingCNBC.com and Forbes.com. You can follow Pedone on Twitter at www.twitter.com/zerosum24 or @zerosum24.