I love to kick off the new trading week by taking a quick peek at companies that have just increased their dividends. A company that's loosening its purse strings probably has improving fundamentals to back up that generosity.

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

We'll start with General Mills (NYSE: GIS). The cereal giant is bumping up its quarterly dividend by a penny, to $0.40 a share. Thay may not seem like much, but General Mills has now raised its rate seven times over the past four years. I guess you can say that the cereal is serial.

Kroger (NYSE: KR) is also hitting the checkout line with fatter checks. The grocery-store chain is padding its quarterly payout by 20%, to $0.09 a share. A few years ago, traditional supermarkets such as Kroger, SUPERVALU (NYSE: SVU), and Safeway (NYSE: SWY) were on the ropes, battered by warehouse clubs' and discount department stores' efforts to build out their fresh- and frozen-food offerings.

But grocery stores are bouncing back these days. All three of those grocers propped up their yields last year, and now Kroger is at it again, making this the second increase since the company initiated its new dividend policy in 2006.

Pall (NYSE: PLL) has the gall to be another booster. The industrial and life-sciences specialist's quarterly disbursements are climbing 8% to $0.13 a share. Pall's now come through with a chunkier dividend for four consecutive years.

Finally, we have Qualcomm (Nasdaq: QCOM) speaking loud and clear. The wireless-communications pioneer is calling in with a new payout rate that's 14% higher than last year's. Shareholders will now receive $0.16 a share every three months. The company also declared a new $2 billion share buyback. One way or another, Qualcomm is set on returning money to its investors.

Subscribers to the Income Investor newsletter service can appreciate the companies sending more and more money to their investors. Income Investor 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 to get raised will be your interest.

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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.