Asian stocks are trading lower on Monday, oil is bouncing off its 5 1/2 year lows reached on Friday, and investors are breathing a sigh of relief after the U.S. Senate approved a $ 1.1 trillion spending bill on Saturday that prevents another federal government shutdown through September 2015.
The Senate approved the spending bill by a margin of 56 to 40.
The bill will now be sent to President Obama for his presidential signature before Wednesday.
Although the bill overcame a delay tactic from Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) who objected to the bill on grounds that it funds President Obama’s executive order with immigration through February 27th, the Senate obtained enough votes to pass the bill.
Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass), a ranking member of the House Financial Services Committee, expressed her discontent with the spending bill because of a key provision of the 2010 Dodd-Frank law was removed that places more regulations on derivative trading with large Wall St. banks.
The 1,603 page spending bill lowers the budget for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) by $60 million, relaxes the rule that shortens the maximum workweek for truckers from 82 to 70 hours, and adds $5.4 billion to fight the Ebola virus and $5.6 billion fight ISIS in the Middle East.
On Monday in Sydney an armed man held captive several people inside a popular café and Lindt chocolate shop.
The hostages have been held for over 8 hours inside the shop.
Some of the hostages were seen taking turns holding up the gunman’s black Islamic flag on the window.
9 NEWS in Australia just reported that five hostages (3 men and 2 women) have recently escaped from the café and ran into the arms of police outside the café.
It is unclear exactly how many more hostages are being held captive inside.
CNN is reporting that the Sydney hostage taker is demanding an ISIS flag and a phone call with Australian PM Tony Abbott who recently posted on Twitter the following message:
Police: ‘We are being tested today