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.

Readers of the Motley Fool Income Investor newsletter can certainly appreciate that kind of thinking. Let's take a closer look at some of the companies that inched their payouts higher this past week.

We'll start with General Dynamics (NYSE: GD). The defense contractor is arming its quarterly distributions, raising its rate by 11% to $0.42 a share. The move may come as a welcome treat, since General Dynamics posted slightly lower earnings in the fourth quarter -- and all of 2009 -- than it did a year earlier.

Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT) is also stocking chunkier yields. The world's largest retailer will come through with an 11% increase to $0.3025 a share. Wal-Mart has rolled forward its disbursements every year since initiating its payout policy in 1974.

Natural gas utility WGL Holdings (NYSE: WGL) will inch its quarterly payout 3% higher, to $0.3775 a share. The parent of Washington Gas Light Company has now juiced up its rate in each of the past 34 years.

Finally, American Greetings (NYSE: AM) just cheered up its shareholders. They'll now receive $0.14-a-share dividend checks every three months, a 17% improvement over last year. I can't be the only one who figured that free online animated greetings and Facebook missives would sink the greeting-card industry. Apparently, American Greetings is doing just fine.

Yield chasers had a good week. In addition to these four companies, others including Canadian Natural Resources (NYSE: CNQ), Myers Industries (NYSE: MYE), and NYMAGIC (NYSE: NYM) began returning more money to their shareholders.

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? 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.