Since last year, the Fed hasn't held back on the interest-rate-hiking trigger. That's why companies that raise their dividends should be a major part of any income-investing strategy. Higher payouts produce higher yields, and that, in theory, should allow the stocks to hold up better than the rest of the market given higher yields on new fixed-income vehicles.

Let's take a closer look at four companies that inched their payouts higher this past week.

News Corp. (NYSE:NWS) raised its dividend. Rupert Murdoch's entertainment giant announced that it will issue a higher dividend in October than it did in April. Unlike most companies that dispense their distributions quarterly, this is a semi-annual move. The end result is the same for investors, who now stand to receive a total of $0.10 a share in 2005 for every Class B share owned.

Hershey (NYSE:HSY) also sweetened the pot. The chocoholic's dream stock will now be paying its shareholders $0.245 for every share outstanding, up from $0.22 per share. The company's been pretty consistent on that front. Over the past five years, it has raised its dividend by an average of 10.8% a year. Those with an investing sweet tooth may be more impressed with the valuation of Tootsie Roll (NYSE:TR) at the moment, but Hershey is the one sporting the attractive 1.6% yield.

Briggs & Stratton (NYSE:BGG) sent its shareholder checks motoring. The world's largest producer of air-cooled engines for outdoor power equipment will now be sending its investors quarterly dividends of $0.22 a share, a nearly 30% improvement over its current $0.17 payout. That's a refreshing move after investors grew nervous earlier this year, when quarterly profits dipped and the company lowered its earnings outlook. However, a 25% spike in profits the following quarter has given the manufacturer breathing room when it comes to cutting in its investors on a bigger piece of the action.

Triarc (NYSE:TRY) raised its quarterly dividend by 23% to $0.08 a share. The company is best known as the franchisor of the 3,500-unit Arby's fast-food chain. You can probably thank me for the hike, since I've downed quite a few of the decadent chocolate-and-peanut-butter sundae shakes lately. I'll promise to do my part to keep that going. Comps are up by 3% at Arby's over the first half of the year, so apparently I'm not alone. Now yielding 2%, Triarc is paying more than other public fast-food chains like McDonald's (NYSE:MCD) and Wendy's (NYSE:WEN).

Subscribers to our Income Investor newsletter can appreciate companies that are sending more and more money to their investors. Analyst Mathew Emmert has often singled out companies that are committed to growing their distributions.

Want to see what Mathew's liking these days? Go ahead and give his newsletter service a shot with a 30-day trial subscription. Who knows? Maybe the next thing that will get raised will be your interest.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz pays attention to yield signs. He does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this story.He is also part of theRule Breakersnewsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has adisclosure policy.