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 Pfizer (NYSE:PFE). The pharmaceuticals giant is upping the dosage of pocket change for its shareholders. The company's new quarterly dividend rate of $0.32 a share is 10% higher than the previous rate. Investors should be used to this by now. Pfizer has increased its distributions in each of the past 41 years.

Eli Lilly (NYSE:LLY) is another big-pharma name feeling generous heading into the holidays. The drugmaker is prescribing an 11% boost on its quarterly dividend, to $0.47 a share. Like Pfizer, Eli Lilly has improved its disbursements for 41 consecutive years.

With the sector presently out of favor, Pfizer and Eli Lilly are yielding a beefy 5.5% and 3.5% respectively. Wow. Pfizer is at 5.5%! That's more than twice the yield of rivals like Merck (NYSE:MRK) and Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ). Are we sure it didn't trade in its Viagra pills to become a REIT specializing in senior assisted living-facilities?

Moody's (NYSE:MCO) is another hiker. The credit-rating specialist is coming through with a 25% boost. Shareholders will now be receiving $0.10 a share every three months.

Finally, we have Waste Management (NYSE:WMI) dumping good things on its vested fans. The company may haul trash, but shareholders are unlikely to trash their new quarterly dividend checks, which represent a 12.5% improvement at $0.27 a share.

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'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 to get hiked will be your interest.

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Eli Lilly and Johnson & Johnson are Income Investor selections. Pfizer and Waste Management have made the cut as Inside Value stock picks. Moody's is a Stock Advisor recommendation.

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.