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 over the past week.

We'll start with banking at Wachovia (NYSE:WB). The financial services giant is making a hefty deposit in paying shareholders 14% more in its quarterly distributions. Investors will now be getting $0.64 per share every three months. That pushes the stock's generous yield to better than 5%. It's a confident move, especially with weaker lenders quivering over the subprime debacle.

TD Bank (NYSE:TD) is another financial hiker. The Canadian giant jacked up its quarterly dividend 8% higher to hit $0.57 per share. The company also made headlines last week given its significant stake in TD AMERITRADE (NASDAQ:AMTD), as sector consolidation rumors in the discount brokerage industry began to buzz.

KMG Chemicals (NASDAQ:KMGB) is also cooking up greater shareholder returns. The company, which used to pay dividends on a semi-annual basis, will start making quarterly distributions. The $0.02-per-share quarterly rate amounts to a 7% uptick over the $0.075 per share it paid out collectively over the past year.

Finally, we have American Software (NASDAQ:AMSWA) going higher. The enterprise software specialist is giving its payouts a 13% bump. Shareowners will now be getting $0.09 per share every three months. Software companies are historically stingy when it comes to dividends, but American Software is now yielding better than 3%.

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.

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.