BOSTON ( TheStreet) -- The looming conclusion of the Federal Reserve's QE2, budget tightening and economic-growth downgrades may spark a sell-off in equity markets. And just today, Standard & Poor's imposed a "negative outlook" on the U.S.'s AAA debt rating.With a number of additional headwinds facing the economy, including a housing market double-dip and elevated unemployment, it's time for stock pickers to adopt a more defensive posture. Dividend stocks, which have been out of favor this year as investors piled into energy and industrial equities, are comparatively safe bets. When screening for yield, most computer programs dismiss so-called special dividends and only incorporate regular quarterly payments. Thus, many high-yielding stocks go unnoticed by yield-seeking investors. Here are three hidden high-yield dividend stocks worth considering. In the pages ahead, they are ordered by yield.