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 opening its wallet wider probably has improving fundamentals to back up that generosity. Readers of our 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.

Let's start with Kimberly-Clark (NYSE:KMB). The company behind Kleenex tissues, Huggies diapers, and Kotex tampons also knows how to keep things tidy with its investors. The company has now declared dividend hikes for 35 straight years, hitting that milestone this week by giving its quarterly distribution an 8% boost to $0.53 a share.

We also had defense contractor Northrop Grumman (NYSE:NOC) going on the offensive. The company's payout is shooting 23% higher, to $0.37 per share every three months. Northrop Grumman also announced a deal to repurchase nearly 8 million shares from Credit Suisse.

Sherwin-Williams (NYSE:SHW) is another hiker. The paint maker is slapping on a new coat over its old dividend, with a 26% spike in its distribution rate. Shareholders will now receive $0.315 a share every quarter.

Despite lackluster production in the homebuilding and hardware superstore sectors, Sherwin-Williams has been able to grow. Last month, it posted record earnings on a 9% boost in net sales. The company isn't as cyclical as you may think, either; the new payout finds Sherwin-Williams extending a 29-year streak of hikes.

Lastly, we have Genuine Parts (NYSE:GPC). If you're impressed by the dividend-propping habits of Kimberly-Clark and Sherwin-Williams, you'll be blown away by Genuine Parts. The automotive parts manufacturer has now increased its distribution rate in each of the last 51 years. The company's 8% boost in its quarterly dividend last week translates into a $0.365-per-share payout.

Subscribers to the Income Investor newsletter can appreciate 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's 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.

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 the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.