I love to kick off the new trading week by taking a quick peek at companies that have just hiked their dividends. It's not just about the money. A company that is easing up on its pocketbook probably has improving fundamentals to back up that generosity.

Readers of the Income Investor newsletter can certainly appreciate that kind of thinking. Let's take a closer look at four of the companies that inched their payouts higher this past week.

We can start with State Street (NYSE:STT). The institutional investing services provider grew its quarterly distribution by a penny, to $0.21 a share. Not impressed? Well, State Street has actually upped the ante seven times over the past three years. Yes, it's been a penny each time, but it adds up to a 50% hike since the fall of 2003.

Can I sidestep a Viagra joke in pointing out that Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) is also raising its dividend? Probably not, though the uptick itself shouldn't surprise shareholders. Pfizer has now raised its payouts for 40 consecutive years. The new rate is aggressive, rising 21% to a quarterly rate of $0.29 a share. The market expects big dividends out of Big Pharma, and Pfizer isn't disappointing with its hefty 4.5% yield.

Another drugmaker that stretched its dividend-hiking streak to 40 years is Eli Lilly (NYSE:LLY). Unlike Pfizer, Lilly went for a more conservative upgrade. Shareowners will now be receiving $0.425 per share every three months, or a 6% improvement. That still translates into a juicy 3.3% yield.

Then we have The Andersons (NASDAQ:ANDE). The ethanol specialist is fueling its own payout higher by growing its quarterly dividend by 6% to $0.0475 a share.

Subscribers to the Income Investor newsletter can appreciate the companies sending more and more money to their investors. The newsletter singles out companies that are committed to growing their distributions with market-thumping results.

Want to see what is being recommended these days? Go ahead and give the newsletter service a shot with a 30-day trial subscription. Who knows? Maybe the next thing to get hiked will be your interest.

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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz pays attention to yield signs. He does not own shares in any of the companies 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 a disclosure policy.