Independent financial advisors don't expect a double-dip recession but they do expect the nation's housing market will continue to soften.

According to a semi-annual study conducted by Schwab Advisor Services, 58% of advisors think a double-dip recession is unlikely, while only 28% foresee another downturn soon.

However, advisor optimism about a number of economic indicators has moderated over the last six months, and clients' outlook has taken a turn for the worse since the prior survey was conducted in January.

Advisors reported that 49% of their clients were less optimistic about the economy than they were in 2009, while only 16% were more upbeat. The fact that the financial services business has recovered more quickly than many other industries may help explain the optimism disconnect.

Advisors acknowledged that helping clients achieve their investment goals is more challenging. The percentage of advisors who said it would be difficult to achieve clients' investment goals in the current market environment climbed to 71% from 58% over the last six months.

Moreover, 50% said clients were less optimistic about their ability to retire on time, while only 5% were more optimistic and 45% were unchanged from six months ago.

Conducted in July, the Schwab survey found that 63% of advisors thought the S&P 500 index would appreciate over the next six months, down slightly from the 65% who thought so in January.

But the advisors' outlook for several indicators reveals that many expect a slowdown even if there isn't a recession. Fully 53% expect the housing market to weaken, compared to 46% in January.

That the economy is changing for the worse also was underscored by advisor expectations for inflation. Only 28% think inflation will increase now versus the 49% who feared rising price levels back in January.

One in four advisors said they are likely to invest a bigger share of clients' assets in ETFs, while 20% say they will allocate more money to alternative investments. Among asset classes, advisors said the places they'll likely direct more money to were domestic and emerging market large-cap stocks.