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

Let's take a closer look at some of the companies that inched their payouts higher this past week.

Let's start with Ensign Group (NASDAQ:ENSG). The provider of nursing, assisted-living, and rehabilitation services through 77 facilities is giving its old quarterly dividend a healthy 11% boost to $0.05 a share. There may be uncertainty in the health-care industry, but Ensign is comfortable enough to hand over more money to its shareowners.

Drug giant Bristol-Myers Squibb (NYSE:BMY) is also upping its payout dosages. Investors will now be receiving $0.32 a share every three months, up from $0.31 a share previously.

Major pharmaceuticals may be under pricing pressure in a wave of health-care reform, but investors are finding some truly juicy distributions in this space. Bristol-Myers is now yielding 5%, and there are other chunky dividends among its peers.





GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE:GSK)


Merck (NYSE:MRK)


Pfizer (NYSE:PFE)


sanofi-aventis (NYSE:SNY)


Some of these moves may not seem like much, but there are plenty of companies that haven't been able to support even their current dividends this year. First United became the latest bank to slash its distributions when it sliced its payout in half two weeks ago.

Subscribers to the Motley Fool 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 that will get hiked will be your interest.

Pfizer is a Motley Fool Inside Value selection. 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.