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 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 Emerson Electric (NYSE:EMR). The company is capping off record results in fiscal 2008 by juicing up its quarterly dividend; the new rate of $0.33 a share is a 10% improvement. It's not a surprise to longtime shareholders. The company has boosted its yield in each of the past 52 years.

Perrigo (NASDAQ:PRGO) is also checking in with a 10% boost to its payouts. The generic-drug maker will now be paying investors $0.055 a share every three months. The 0.7% yield may not seem like much to those who follow the sector, since Bristol-Myers Squibb (NYSE:BMY), Merck (NYSE:MRK), and Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) are yielding 6.0%, 5.3%, and 7.6%, respectively. But Perrigo's appeal is its dependable growth, and jacking up its distributions is a way of confirming that growth.

Aaron Rents (NYSE:RNT) is another hiker. The furniture rental specialist's new quarterly disbursements will be for $0.017 a share. It may seem like Aaron Rents is simply splitting pennies here, but it's still a welcome 6% bump at a time when many consumer-facing companies are slashing their yields.

Finally, we have C.H. Robinson Worldwide (NASDAQ:CHRW) trucking along. The multimodal transportation services provider is increasing its quarterly dividend by 9% to $0.24 a share. Helping companies with the logistics of meeting their transportation needs is probably a whole lot easier now that fuel prices have come way off their summer highs.

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 free 30-day trial subscription. Who knows? Maybe the next thing to get hiked will be your interest.

Pfizer is a Motley Fool Income Investor selection and a Motley Fool Inside Value pick. The Fool owns shares of Pfizer. 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 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.