Dividends are good. More dividends are even better. Beyond the extra jingle in your pocket every quarter, that dividend is often tied to a company with improving fundamentals. Otherwise, it wouldn't be so quick to part with even more of its cash.

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

CVS (NYSE:CVS) is checking in with a healthier dividend. The country's largest pharmacy chain, with 5,400 stores, inched its quarterly payout 7% higher. Going from $0.03625 to $0.03875 may seem like an absurd splitting of copper pennies, but it does indicate that CVS is feeling fine despite toiling away in a sector with heavy consolidation. In fact, this is now the third year in a row that CVS has raised its rate of distribution.

Homebuilder D.R. Horton (NYSE:DHI) also raised the stakes. Real estate developers have had it rough over the past few months; investors have grown nervous over slower new housing starts, fearing that higher mortgage rates will send home prices lower. Just don't go telling Horton that. Its new home orders are coming in at a record clip, and it's willing to put its money where its mouth is. When you factor in a 4-for-3 stock split, Horton's dividend has soared by 48% over the past year alone.

Pentair (NYSE:PNR) was another gusher. The specialist in enclosures and water-related products grew its quarterly payout by a penny to $0.14 a share. It marks the 30th consecutive year of dividend hikes for long-term Pentair investors. Then again, holding for the long term isn't always an option. Witness how rival Water Pik (NYSE:PIK) agreed to a buyout by a Carlyle Group subsidiary earlier this month.

Finally, we have Educational Development (NASDAQ:EDUC). I last looked at that company nearly four years ago, when I singled it out as one of ten promising stocks trading for less than $10 back in 2002. It's still trading in the single digits, though the company remains profitable despite essentially flat sales and earnings through the first nine months of fiscal 2006. Educational Development sells children's books through a network of home-based representatives, borrowing a page from the Tupperware (NYSE:TUP) playbook. Educational Development pays out its dividends in annual installments, and it will be going from $0.15 to $0.20 per share this year.

Subscribers to our Motley Fool Income Investor newsletter can appreciate companies that send more and more money to their investors. Analyst Mathew Emmert has often singled out companies committed to growing their distributions with market-thumping results.

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