Financial advisors have turned decidedly more optimistic about the market’s prospects for 2012, according to an SEI Quick Poll released Thursday. Nine in 10 of the advisors surveyed in early February said they expect a positive return for the S&P 500 in 2012, up 18% from a similar survey conducted in mid-January. More than six in 10, 63%, predicted gains greater than 5%, a sentiment that spread dramatically from just three weeks ago.

“Whether it’s the trend in unemployment numbers, positive corporate profits, or lack of bad news, the investment sentiment has shifted to a more optimistic attitude,” said Steve Onofrio, managing director of SEI Advisor Network, a unit of SEI, a provider of investment and fund processing and investment management business outsourcing solutions.

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