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.

Let's start with CBS (NYSE:CBS). The media giant gave its quarterly dividend a 14% boost. Investors will now be on the receiving end of $0.25 per share every three months. It's the fourth time that the company has upped its distributions since it was spun off by Viacom (NYSE:VIA) last year.

Making sure that its signature "can you hear me now" wireless catchphrase is heard loud and clear, Verizon (NYSE:VZ) is also stepping up its disbursements. The telco's new quarterly dividend of $0.43 a share is a 6% improvement over the earlier rate.

Sovran Self Storage (NYSE:SSS) is another hiker. The real estate investment trust that buys into self-storage facilities is growing its quarterly distributions to $0.63 a share. The REIT has now inched its yield higher in each of the past 12 years.

Sovran's in a good place. With the subprime meltdown forcing many people to foreclose on their homes, self-storage will be a popular solution as they move to smaller digs.

Finally, we have BHP Billiton (NYSE:BHP). The Australian mining and drilling specialist is hiking its semi-annual dividend by 35%, to $0.54 a share. Things have been going well for the company, and it's been inching its payout higher every six months for several years now.

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.

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.