Not every company is slashing its dividend these days. Some of the market's better performers are easing up on their purse strings. Motley Fool Income Investor readers can get behind that kind of thinking, so let's take a closer look at four of the companies that inched their payouts higher this past week.

Let's start with UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH). The health-care giant will now pay shareholders $0.125 a share every three months. That's quite the upgrade, since UnitedHealth was shelling out a mere $0.03 annually for several years until last week's move.

Ketchup king H.J. Heinz (NYSE: HNZ) is no rotten tomato. The food company is giving its quarterly dividend a 7% boost to $0.45 a share. That may not seem like much, but income investors realize that the company's policies are a lot like its slow-rolling ketchup: Good things come to those who wait. Over the past seven years, Heinz's distributions have risen by almost 67%.

Williams-Sonoma (NYSE: WSM) is also sprucing up its look. The housewares retailer is giving its quarterly distributions a 15% bump to $0.15 a share. Things must be looking up at Williams-Sonoma, because this is the second time this year that the chain has improved its rate.

Finally, we have Lowe's (NYSE: LOW) on the move. The home-improvement retailer is nailing together a 22% upgrade, for a quarterly payout of $0.11 a share. Lowe's has a multidecade streak of paying out increasing dividends each year, when you consider stock splits along the way.

Some of these moves may not seem like much, but it's clearly better to see companies increasing their yields than slashing them. Farming-equipment juggernaut Deere (NYSE: DE) and pharmaceuticals provider McKesson (NYSE: MCK) have also bumped up their payouts in recent days.

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

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Lowe's and UnitedHealth Group are Motley Fool Inside Value choices. McKesson and UnitedHealth Group are Motley Fool Stock Advisor selections. H.J. Heinz is a Motley Fool Income Investor pick. The Fool owns shares of UnitedHealth Group. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

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.