Oil prices shot up on Thursday on news Saudi Arabia trimmed output in September to support the market, while upbeat U.S. data and earnings boosted prices by stoking hopes for a more robust U.S. recovery. In the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures for delivery in December traded up 1.52% at $81.74 a barrel during U.S. trading, up from a session low of $80.06 a barrel and off a high of $82.34 a barrel. The December contract settled down 2.39% at $80.52 a barrel on Wednesday. Support for the commodity was seen at $79.10 a barrel, last Thursday’s low, and resistance at $83.26 a barrel, Tuesday’s high. Oil prices got a boost after Saudi Arabia said it cut crude oil production by about 328,000 barrels in September to a total of 9.36 million barrels. London-traded Brent prices have fallen nearly 26% since June, while WTI futures are down almost 23% from a recent peak of $107.50 in June. Concerns over weakening global demand combined with indications that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries will not cut output to support oil markets have weighed on prices in recent weeks. OPEC oil output hit a two-year high of 31 million barrels per day in September, led by higher production from Iraq and Libya. Some market analysts believe that only a cut in production by the oil cartel will halt the decline in prices. Oil ministers from the 12-member group are scheduled to meet in Vienna on Nov. 27 to consider whether to adjust their production target for early 2015. Elsewhere, bullish data out of the U.S. gave oil a boost as well on expectations that a more robust U.S. economy will consume more fuel and energy. The Department of Labor reported earlier that the number of individuals filing for initial jobless benefits in the week ending Oct. 18 increased by 17,000 to 283,000, broadly in line with forecasts. The four-week average fell to 281,000, the lowest since May 2000, while continuing claims, which includes those receiving benefits for at least a second month in a row, also hit a 14-year low, of 2.35 million, which bolstered the U.S. currency. Better-than-expected earnings from General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) as well as Caterpillar Inc (NYSE:CAT), the latter of which hiked its profit outlook, boosted oil prices as did data out of Europe. Research group Markit Economics reported earlier that its preliminary manufacturing purchasing managers’ index for the euro area ticked up to 50.7 this month from a final reading of 50.3 in September. Analysts had expected the index to slide to 49.9. The service-sector PMI held steady at 52.4, slightly above expectations of 52.0. Separately, on the ICE Futures Exchange in London, Brent oil futures for December delivery were up 2.34% at US$86.70 a barrel, while the spread between Brent and U.S. crude contracts stood at $4.96.