I love to kick off the new trading week by taking a quick peek at companies that have just raised 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 over the past week.

We'll start with Anheuser-Busch (NYSE:BUD). The bud of Buds boosted its quarterly dividend by 12% to $0.33 per share. Let's hope that the event doesn't ignite a brand-new drinking game, because it'll cost you. The company -- an Inside Value recommendation -- has increased its distributions for 31 consecutive years now.

You've got hike! Time Warner (NYSE:TWX), the media giant that owns everything from AOL to CNN, upped its quarterly disbursements by 14% to $0.0625 per share. It may not seem like much, but it's the second annual boost since the company initiated a dividend policy in 2005.

Then we have Norfolk Southern (NYSE:NSC) laying higher tracks. The railway giant boosted its dividend rate by 18%. Shareholders will now be receiving $0.26 per share every three months. If railroads seem like a sleepy industry without a modern-day Dagny Taggart around, keep in mind that just last week I was discussing the payout increase at peer Burling Northern Santa Fe (NYSE:BNI). Go ahead and shrug, Atlas.

Then we have Gannett (NYSE:GCI) going to $0.40 per share on its quarterly treats, 29% higher than the old yield. A newspaper company giving money back to its shareholders? It's happening a lot more than you might think. The USA Today parent company has now increased its payouts 39 times since going public 40 years ago. 

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 that will get hiked will be your interest.

Time Warner is a Stock Advisor pick.

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's disclosure policy is a close personal friend of John Galt.