I love to kick off the new trading week with a quick peek at companies that have just hiked their dividends -- and not just because of the money. A company that is easing up on its purse strings 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 Carlisle (NYSE:CSL). The industrial equipment giant is ratcheting up its quarterly dividend by 7%, to $0.155. Carlisle is pretty reliable on that front, having now increased its payout rate for 32 consecutive years.

Murphy Oil (NYSE:MUR) is also reaching deeper into its pockets, but the energy exploration company knows all about digging for something valuable. Murphy's new quarterly distributions of $0.25 a share are 33% better than its earlier payouts. Naturally, these have been good times for energy companies, and Murphy has been willing to share the wealth, with aggressive hikes in each of the past three years.

Another company handing out a bigger cut of the box office is National CineMedia (NASDAQ:NCMI). The company behind the country's most popular multiplex advertising network is bumping up its dividend to $0.16 a share. The advertising market may be in a slump, but the movie-theater industry is having a record-breaking summer, thanks in large part to blockbusters like Marvel Entertainment's (NYSE:MVL) Iron Man. That's welcome news to exhibitors like Regal Cinema (NYSE:RGC), AMC, and Cinemark (NYSE:CNK) as well as National CineMedia.

Quality Systems (NASDAQ:QSII) is another topper. The health-care software specialist is giving its yield a boost, increasing its quarterly rate by 20%. Shareholders will now receive $0.30 a share every three months.

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 that will get hiked will be your interest.

Quality Systems and Marvel Entertainment are Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendations. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

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.