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's easing up on its purse strings 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 over the past week.

We'll start by prescribing CVS Caremark (NYSE:CVS) for those demanding chunkier yields. The drugstore chain and prescription fulfillment specialist increased its quarterly dividend by 15% to $0.069 a share.

CVS wasn't the only pharmacy pumping up the dosage. Walgreen (NYSE:WAG) came through with an 18% boost. Shareholders will now receive $0.1125 a share every three months. Investors have been rightfully spoiled by the drugstore giant, since Walgreen has come through with payout hikes in each of the past 34 years.

Will other pharmacies follow suit? Longs Drug (NYSE:LDG) has maintained a stable dividend, as well as adding a small one-time special dividend recently. Rite Aid (NYSE:RAD), on the other hand, has no dividend -- and with continuing losses, it's not likely to start one anytime soon.

Paychex (NASDAQ:PAYX) is another hiker. The payroll provider's new quarterly rate of $0.31 a share is just a penny-per-share improvement, but it's often the thought that counts. With an iffy economy leading some to wonder whether Paychex will suffer if employment rates head lower -- Office Depot's (NYSE:ODP) recent letdown isn't helping -- the internal confidence at Paychex is encouraging.

Finally, we have Cummins (NYSE:CMI) revving higher. The engine maker is putting the pedal to the metal, growing its quarterly dividend by 40% to $0.175 a share. The company has been on a tear lately. It's not just that Cummins has now delivered three hikes since the summer of 2006. The company's rate has actually climbed 133% in that time.

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 to get hiked will be your interest.