Not every company is slashing its dividend these days. Some of the market's better performers are easing up on their purse strings and sending more money out to their shareholders.

Readers of the Income Investor newsletter service can appreciate that kind of thinking. So let's take a closer look at four of the companies that inched their payouts higher last week.

Let's start with Northrop Grumman (NYSE:NOC). The defense contractor is giving its investors more pocket ammo. Its new quarterly dividend is $0.43 a share, an 8% uptick. This may seem to be a cyclical industry, but Northrop Grumman has now delivered five straight years of boosts. As a result of its steady increases, its disbursements have more than doubled since 2003.

The raven may quoth "nevermore," but Raven Industries' (NASDAQ:RAVN) shareholders see things in an entirely different way. The industrial manufacturer is increasing its quarterly payout by 8% to $0.14 a share. Raven has now come through with 23 consecutive years of higher distributions.

"Although earnings were down in our first quarter and we expect our second quarter to be the most difficult of the year, we are confident that this increased dividend level is sustainable," its CEO told investors, as if generosity somehow needs to be justified.

Ace Limited (NYSE:ACE) is another booster. The global insurance powerhouse is pushing up its yield by 7%, to the quarterly equivalent of $0.31 a share. No, not every insurer is hungry for cash.

Finally, Knight Transportation (NYSE:KNX) keeps on truckin'. The truckload carrier's new payout rate is $0.05 a share every three months. That adds up to a honk-worthy 25% increase.

Some of these moves may not seem like much, but consider the less savory moves that took place in recent days:

  • Shaving their payouts, BB&T (NYSE:BBT) and KeyCorp (NYSE:KEY) proved once again that the financial-services sector isn't out of the woods just yet. BB&T's cut means an end to an enviable 37-year streak of beefier dividend checks.
  • Lowering its own bid, auction giant Sotheby's (NYSE:BID) is slashing its yield by two-thirds.  

Subscribers to Income Investor appreciate the companies that send more and more money to their investors. The newsletter service singles out companies that are committed to growing their distributions with market-thumping results.

Want to see what's being recommended these days? Give the service a shot with a 30-day trial subscription. Who knows? Maybe the next thing that to get a boost will be your interest.

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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz pays attention to yield signs. He owns no shares in any of the companies in this story and 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.