CHRIS VERSACE: Good morning, Action Alerts Plus subscribers. I'm back with more on the latest earnings. But before we dig into that, we, of course, have to talk about this mornings first quarter GDP report. The preliminary reading came in at 1.1% weaker than the 2% consensus and down sharply from the 2.6% in the December quarter.
Now again, this was a far weaker than expected print, but it's one that speaks to some of the recent manufacturing data that we've been seeing. Now this is the first print. Remember, we have two revisions to go, but it also means to me that next week's PMI data for April will be the focal point for the market as we try to triangulate even further around the vector and the velocity of the economy as we move deeper into the second quarter.
Now the report also showed some positives really as to how the consumer is able to remain resilient. We've seen that with wage gains that have driven disposable income higher. And the report also showed that consumers are rebuilding their savings during the March quarter. That suggests they're likely to remain resilient. Mastercard spoke to that this morning in its consensus beating earnings report.
However, consumers and businesses will have to contend with higher prices in interest rates. I say this because the core PCE price index for the March quarter came in a blazing hot 4.9%. Despite the Fed's actions, this was the highest reading that we've seen in several quarters. It also means that when we get the March core PCE price index tomorrow, it is going to be a doozy of a number. This data is likely to keep the fad-- excuse me, the Fed on path with its stated playbook for monetary policy and way further on prospects for those potential rate cuts the market was hoping for in the second half of the year.
Now, over the last several days, we've been rebuilding our cash and making some minor moves with the portfolio, including adding to some of our more defensively positioned names as well as those poised to outshine giving spending in Washington. These include positions like Elevance Health and Lockheed Martin, which we added to again this morning, tapping the significant moves we've seen in both Chipotle and PepsiCo shares.
We shared these trades were likely to happen, and we're happy to book these very large gains. We would suggest that you take a look at the full trade alert when we go into the innards of the trade, the rationale in a little more details. Now staying with United Rentals, the company reported last night in our view, it was a solid quarter. Simply, we're not going to quibble about a few pennies on an EPS number that's around $8 a share, especially when those reported earnings are up more than 38% year over year.
United's going to hold its earnings conference call later this morning around 11:00 AM ET, and we expect bullish comments to be had about the coming quarters as the flow of infrastructure related spending continues. We also have to say that quarterly results out of Caterpillar this morning that showed its North American construction business up 33% year over year were another positive data point not only for United Rentals shares and Vulcan Material shares but also for our shares in Deere.
Now after today's close, we will see further earnings reports, including one from our own Amazon. As we saw from Alphabet and Microsoft, cloud has remained strong. And Amazon's results will tell us if it's holding its own, losing cloud share, or perhaps gaining it. Those details, as well as the results for its digital shopping, advertising, and other businesses will shape what's ahead for this big tech holding in the portfolio.
That'll do it for today's rundown. JD Durkin will be back tomorrow with AAP team member Carley Garner for her insights and perspective as we look to leave the month of April behind us. Thanks for watching.