I love to kick off the new trading week by taking a quick peek at companies that have just raised their dividends. A company that's easing up on its pocketbook probably has improving fundamentals to back up its generosity.

Readers of the Motley Fool Income Investor newsletter service can 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 Cintas (Nasdaq: CTAS). The leader in company uniform rentals boosted its annual dividend by 18% to $0.46 a share. Since going public in 1983, Cintas' distributions have grown at a compound annual rate of 20%.

This dividend increase was a bold move, because Cintas could feel the sting if the economy continues to weaken. If companies have to let employees go, they'll also be scaling back on office-gear rentals. So the company's confidence is encouraging, even if the real test will be to see whether it suits up with a fatter yield next year.

Then we have Intel (Nasdaq: INTC) chipping in. Despite posting disappointing quarterly results, shareholders will be getting a 13% bump in their payouts. Investors will now receive $0.1275 a share every three months. The leading PC-chip maker announced the increase two months ago, but seeing the company come through with the dividend last week, bumpy earnings report and all, was encouraging.

Family Dollar (NYSE: FDO) is another company with a dividend on the rise. The chain of 6,400 discount stores that cater to thrifty shoppers is sticking to tradition. With last week's move to improve its quarterly distributions by 9%, to $0.125 a share, the company has increased its dividend for 32 consecutive years now.

The 2.9% yield is notable, especially since many of the value-minded retailers, such as Big Lots (NYSE: BIG), 99 Cents Only (NYSE: NDN), and Dollar Tree (Nasdaq: DLTR), don't even pay dividends.

Finally, we have Schlumberger (NYSE: SLB) refueling its yield. The oilfield-services giant may be coming off a lackluster quarter, but that won't get in the way of an ambitious 20% spike to its disbursements. With oil prices remaining buoyant, it's easy to see why shareowners will now be getting quarterly dividend checks to the tune of $0.21 a share.

Subscribers to the Income Investor newsletter service can appreciate the companies sending more and more money to their investors. Income Investor 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 service a shot with a 30-day free trial subscription. Who knows? Maybe the next thing to get raised will be your interest.

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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 part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.