I love to kick off the new trading week by taking a quick peek at companies that have just hiked their dividends. The money's not the only draw here. A company 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 Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT). The company's $40 billion buyback has the market buzzing, but it's not the only way the software giant is returning money to its shareowners. Mr. Softy is also bumping up its quarterly payouts by 18%, to $0.13 a share.

Dividends are still a new concept for many tech stocks. Giants like Oracle (NASDAQ:ORCL) and Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) don't even pay them out, yet. So enjoy Microsoft's healthy 2% yield. These days, it's pretty substantial.

McDonald's (NYSE:MCD) shareholders are also loving it. The world's leading fast-food chain is serving up a new quarterly dividend of $0.50 a share, 33% higher than the previous rate. Yes, a single share can now generate enough income to buy two items off the Mickey D's Dollar Menu over the course of the year ahead.

Investors knew the move was coming. The 31,000-unit chain has increased its disbursements every year since initiating its policy in 1976. But the dramatic size of the increase was definitely a welcome surprise.

Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT) is another hiker. The defense contractor elevated its payouts by 36%, to $0.57 a share. The move inches up Lockheed's yield to an impressive 2%, but yield chasers may still prefer rival Northrop Grumman's (NYSE:NOC) 2.5%.

Finally, Campbell Soup (NYSE:CPB) is pouring it on. The food giant behind supermarket staples like Pepperidge Farm cakes, V8 veggie juices, and its namesake soups is increasing its quarterly dividend by 14% to $0.25 a share.

Subscribers to the Income Investor newsletter can appreciate 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 we're recommending these days? 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.

Microsoft is a Motley Fool Inside Value selection. Apple is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor pick. 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.