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 this past week.

We can start with Seaspan (NYSE:SSW). The Hong Kong-based containership chartering company is sailing upstream with a 5% uptick in its quarterly distributions. Acquisitions that have been accretive to earnings helped make the upgrade an easy decision. The same goes for an ambitious slate of new ship orders that will nearly double its fleet between now and the end of 2009.

Then we have Comerica (NYSE:CMA) rewarding its bankers. The financial-services giant is increasing its quarterly payout by 9% to $0.64 a share. No surprise here. Comerica has now upped its yield for 38 consecutive years.

Praxair (NYSE:PX) was another gusher. The industrial-gas specialist is celebrating its centennial with a 20% spurt in its dividend rate. Shareholders will now be receiving $0.30 a share every three months.

Finally, pawnshop operator and payday lender Cash America (NYSE:CSH) will also have investors looking forward to their next checks. Despite a gloomy outlook that slammed the stock on Friday, the company is hiking its quarterly dividend by 40%.

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 that will get hiked will be your interest.

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.