I love to kick off a new trading week by peeking at companies that have just hiked their dividends. It's not only 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 look at four companies that inched their payouts higher over the past week.

Let's start with Marriott (NYSE: MAR). The hospitality chain checked in with a 17% upgrade in its quarterly dividend rate. Investors will now be on the receiving end of checks for $0.0875 a share every three months.

Kellogg (NYSE: K) is a cereal thriller, promising a 10% boost to its payout during the next quarter. The announcement came as the company posted good -- though not Tony the Tiger-worthy grrrrreat -- quarterly earnings.

IBM (NYSE: IBM) is another hiker. The tech bellwether may have bowed out of the PC market given heated competition from Dell (Nasdaq: DELL) and Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ), but it's doing just fine in drumming up enterprise systems these days. The company's new quarterly dividend of $0.50 a share is a 25% improvement over its earlier rate. Investors probably aren't surprised, since IBM has bumped up its distributions in each of the past 13 years.

Finally, we have CBS (NYSE: CBS) with an eye for fatter checks. The media giant came through by declaring a $0.27 a share quarterly rate, 8% higher than what it paid last time. 

CBS has become an income investor's dream. The company has now increased its dividend five times since it was spun off from Viacom (NYSE: VIA) two years ago. CBS shares yield an attractive 4.5% today.

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 recommended these days? Go ahead and give the newsletter service a shot with a free, 30-day trial subscription. Who knows? Maybe the next thing to get hiked 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 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. Dell is a former Stock Advisor recommendation. The Fool has a disclosure policy.