I love to kick off the new trading week by taking a quick peek at companies that have just increased their dividends. It's not just about the money. A company that's opening its wallet wider probably has improving fundamentals to back up that generosity.

Readers of the Motley Fool 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 United Technologies (NYSE:UTX). The aerospace giant saw its quarterly dividends soar by 20%, to $0.385 a share. The company has been paying uninterrupted dividends for 72 years, and it typically comes through with a yield booster.

Teekay (NYSE:TK) is also sailing along nicely. The oil shipper is increasing its payout by 15%, to $0.31625 every three months. Teekay has now propped up its rate in each of the past six years.

Acme (AMEX:ACU) is another hiker. The company may be known for its cutting devices, but it certainly isn't cutting its distributions. Acme's new quarterly rate is a 25% improvement, to $0.05 a share.

Finally we have First Financial Northwest (NASDAQ:FFNW) banking on a bigger check. The Washington-based savings bank is increasing its quarterly dividend to $0.085 a share. Sure, it's just half a penny higher than its most recent disbursement, but in a week when Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) became the latest financial titan to slash its payout, First Financial Northwest's move is encouragingly noteworthy.

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 we're recommending 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.

Bank of America is a Motley Fool Income Investor recommendation. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, 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 part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.