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

Readers of the Income Investor newsletter service, with its emphasis on dividend-paying stocks, 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 CBS (NYSE:CBS). Even though the media giant was spun off by Viacom (NYSE:VIA) less than 15 months ago, it has raised its quarterly dividend rate three times already. Last week's upgrade now has CBS paying $0.22 per share, a 10% improvement from its most recent disbursement.

Higher dividends? Yeah, we got that. Office-supply retailer Staples (NASDAQ:SPLS) means business with its 32% payout boost. Shareholders will now be receiving $0.29 a share in the company's annual distribution.

Chubb (NYSE:CB) also checked in with a chubbier check for investors. The property-and-casualty insurer bumped its yield 16% higher. Despite the ups and downs of the insurance industry, Chubb has been a perpetual hiker, growing its quarterly dividend year after year. The new rate will enrich shareowners to the tune of $0.29 per share every three months.

Then we have Schering-Plough (NYSE:SGP). The drugmaker's new quarterly dividend is just a penny higher than the old rate, but it's still an 18% improvement. The increase to $0.065 a share shouldn't be taken lightly. It's actually the company's first hike in five years.

Subscribers to Income Investor like it when companies send 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 that will 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.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.