I love to kick off the new trading week with 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.

We'll start with NYSE Euronext (NYSE: NYX). The ever-expanding parent of the New York Stock Exchange is propping up its quarterly disbursements by 20% to $0.30 a share. The Rule Breakers-recommended company also authorized a $1 billion share buyback.

If "Intel Inside" eventually wore on you as a marketing slogan, how about "Bigger Dividend Check Inside" instead? Intel (Nasdaq: INTC) is upping its quarterly distribution by 10% to $0.14 a share. This is the second time in the past year that the chip maker has come through with a chunkier yield.

CSX (NYSE: CSX) is another hiker, as the railroad giant chugs along the track. Like NYSE Euronext, it's also padding a massive share repurchase initiative with a 20% payout boost. CSX investors will now receive $0.18 a share every three months.

Perhaps CSX's upbeat outlook explains why Berkshire Hathaway's Warren Buffett has warmed to the industry lately, loading up on railroad operators like Burlington Northern Santa Fe (NYSE: BNI) and Norfolk Southern (NYSE: NSC).  

Finally, we have Bassett Furniture (Nasdaq: BSET) turning ottomans into auto cash. The home-furnishings specialist is bumping up its quarterly rate by 13%, to $0.225 a share. The move gives Bassett a head-turning yield of 7.4%.

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.