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.

Let's start with Guess? (NYSE:GES). The apparel giant is passing on the stateside success of its namesake stores and its global brand presence to its shareholders. The company's quarterly dividend is improving by 25% to $0.10 a share.

Shoppers can be fickle. Footwear and handbag specialist Kenneth Cole (NYSE:KCP) actually reduced its payouts earlier this year. However, as long as the going is good at Guess?, it makes perfect sense to reward its investors.

Titan International (NYSE:TWI) is another hiker. The maker of wheels and tires for off-highway vehicles is holding up well as a result of its agribusiness exposure. Titan's new quarterly disbursements will be for $0.005 a share. Yes, it's a fraction of a penny. Yes, it's the same rate it paid three years ago. However, because Titan just completed a 5-for-4 stock split, it's the equivalent of a 25% increase.

Can you hear Verizon's (NYSE:VZ) yield going higher? Good. The telco juggernaut's new dividend of $0.46 a share is a 7% improvement over its previous quarterly rate. It's a move that impacts a lot of people, since Verizon claims to have a whopping 2.4 million shareholders. Keeping callers connected has proven to be a pretty stable sector, with companies like CenturyTel (NYSE:CTL) and Shaw Communications (NYSE:SJR) also boosting their disbursements this summer.

Finally, we have Friedman Industries (AMEX:FRD) fitting in with the fiscal pipe fitters. The steel and pipe specialist is ratcheting up its quarterly dividend by a healthy 50% to $0.12 a share. This leaves Friedman with a chunky yield of 6%.

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.

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.