The National People’s Congress (NPC) has kicked off today, leapt off the starting blocks, thrown the first pitch (enter sports analogy here). But market enthusiasm for the annual meeting of China’s parliament began yesterday, with the SCI closing up 6.1% on expectations that the government would announce additional economic stimulus measures. It was the biggest one-day percentage gain since November 10. Among the winners were steel- and resource-related stocks, the likes of Aluminum Corp of China and Angang Steel. Some property developers got a boost too. But the NPC has yet to deliver on investor expectations. Premier Wen Jiabao didn’t mention any additions to the US$585 billion economic stimulus package in his annual work report at the NPC. He did reiterate the government’s 8% economic growth target while promising to “significantly increase” investment in 2009. On the political front, Wen said China was ready for peace talks with the island (not country) of Taiwan, saying that China was “ready to create the conditions for ending the state of hostility.” A spokesman for Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou was reserved in his response, saying that the island would seek economic deals with the mainland before any political deals.