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's 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 Lee Enterprises (NYSE:LEE), propping up its dividend by 6% to $0.19 a share. Stop the presses? Why not? Lee runs a network of 51 daily newspapers. Few would peg newsprint as a growth industry these days. In fact, Lee's circulation rates have been falling like most old-school peers. The migration online is only partly offsetting the weakness. However, profits from continuing operations climbed 11% higher during the company's latest quarter before charges. That's progress. It also creates wiggle room to open up its quarterly disbursements.

Quixote (NASDAQ:QUIX) doesn't need to battle windmills to spin its payouts higher. The manufacturer of things like highway crash cushions and weather forecasting stations is boosting its semi-annual dividend by $0.01 to $0.20 per share.

Union Pacific (NYSE:UNP) is another hiker. The railroad giant is toot-tooting its yield higher with a 26% spike to $0.44 a share. It's the second time this year that Union Pacific has increased its quarterly payout. Newsprint? Railroads? Enriching? Where's Dagny Taggart when you need her?

Finally, we have Baxter International (NYSE:BAX) checking in with a healthier prognosis. The health-care services specialist is declaring a 30% increase on its disbursements. Shareholders will now be receiving $0.2175 a share every three months. Like Union Pacific, this is actually the second time this year the company has jacked up its yield.

Subscribers to the Income Investor newsletter can appreciate the companies sending more and more money to their investors. The newsletter singles out companies 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.