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.

We’ll start with Kimberly-Clark (NYSE:KMB). The company behind Kleenex tissues and Huggies baby diapers is boosting its quarterly dividend by 3% to $0.60 a share. Shareholders are used to this kind of kind of pampering. Kimberly-Clark has increased its dividend for 37 consecutive years now.

Colgate-Palmolive (NYSE:CL) is another supermarket-staple hiker. Its new quarterly distributions of $0.44 a share are 10% higher than its previous payouts. Beyond its namesake Colgate toothpaste and Palmolive dishwashing liquid, the company markets several other brands you know, like Irish Spring soap bars and Hill's Science Diet pet food.

Trash hauler Waste Management (NYSE:WMI) is also bringing home the bacon as it takes out the garbage. The company's payouts are climbing by 7%, with shareholders receiving $0.29 a share every three months. The stock is now yielding an attractive 4.3%.

Finally, we have Chubb (NYSE:CB) getting chubbier. The insurer jacked up its dividend, the day after rival Allstate (NYSE:AL) slashed its distributions in half. One has to appreciate the golden nuggets of disparity within the same sector.

Some of these moves may not sound like much, but consider the companies going the other way last week:

  • General Electric (NYSE:GE) whacked its dividend to $0.10 a share, despite hinting at keeping its payouts intact earlier this year.
  • JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM) became yet another banking giant to withdraw its lofty yield. Investors will now be getting $0.05 a share on a quarterly basis after an 87% haircut.

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 to get hiked will be your interest.

Waste Management, Kimberly-Clark, and JPMorgan Chase are Motley Fool Income Investor picks. Waste Management is also a Motley Fool Inside Value 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 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.