4 Stocks Spiking on Unusual Volume

Tickers in this article: MAKO MFRM NTWK VHC
WINDERMERE, Fla. ( 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.

Major moves in volume can signal unusual activity, such as insider buying or selling -- or buying or selling by "superinvestors."

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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 today.

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VirnetX

VirnetX (VHC) develops software and technology solutions for securing real-time communications over the Internet. It currently own 20 patents in the U.S. and 26 foreign patents. This stock is trading up 5% at $35.68 in recent trading.

Today's Volume: 2.14 million

Average Volume: 762,310

Volume % Change: 320%

Shares of VHC are trending up today after its $368 million jury verdict for patent infringement against Apple (AAPL) was upheld.

From a technical perspective, VHC is gapping up sharply higher here right off its 50-day moving average of $33.65 with heavy upside volume. This move is quickly pushing shares of VHC within range of triggering a major breakout trade. That trade will hit if VHC manages to take out some near-term overhead resistance levels at $36.44 to $36.60 and then once it clears more resistance at $37.65 with high volume.

Traders should now look for long-biased trades in VHC as long as it's trending above its 50-day at $33.65 and then once it sustains a move or close above those breakout levels with volume that hits near or above 762,310 shares. If that breakout hits soon, then VHC will set up to re-test or possibly take out its next major overhead resistance level at $41.93.

Mattress Firm

Mattress Firm (MFRM) is a specialty retailer of mattresses and related products and accessories in the U.S. This stock is trading up 4.7% at $27.70 in recent trading.

Today's Volume: 506,000

Average Volume: 329,202

Volume % Change: 232%

Shares of MFRM are moving higher today after industry data showed improved shipments in January.

From a technical perspective, MFRM is bouncing strongly to the upside here right off its 50-day moving average of $26.47 with above-average volume. This move is quickly pushing shares of MFRM within range of triggering a near-term breakout trade. That trade will hit if MFRM manages to take out some near-term overhead resistance levels at its 200-day moving average of $29.27 and then above more resistance at $29.80 to $30.48 with high volume.