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 Kroger (NYSE:KR). The supermarket chain gave its distributions a 15% boost to $0.075 per share every three months. The news came just after the company came through with impressive quarterly results that found revenues and earnings growing by 15% and 39%, respectively.

Cohen & Steers (NYSE:CNS) is also erecting a taller dividend. The specialist in real estate mutual funds and other realty-based investments is declaring a $0.20-per-share quarterly dividend. That's a huge 54% upgrade from its most recent policy, bumping the company's yield up to nearly 2%.

Inter Parfums (NASDAQ:IPAR) is another hiker. The perfume maker's products know how to sweeten the smell of a room, and now it's giving investors sweeter-smelling quarterly dividend checks, too. The company that provides chains like Gap (NYSE:GPS) and Quiksilver (NYSE:ZQK) with their retail fragrances is spritzing its payout 25% higher to $0.05 per share.

Then we have Applied Materials (NASDAQ:AMAT). The semiconductor equipment specialist is bringing the "fabulous" back to fabs with a 20% spike in its payout policy. The company, also making waves in solar energy, will be distributing $0.06 per share to its investors on a quarterly basis.

Subscribers to the Income Investor newsletter can appreciate companies that 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. Gap is an Inside Value and Stock Advisor pick. 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.