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 Motley Fool 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.

Let's start with Lancaster Colony (NASDAQ:LANC). The company behind Marzetti salad dressings and Candle-lite scented candles is bumping up its quarterly dividend to $0.285 a share. It's a small improvement from its previous $0.28-a-share rate, but Lancaster has now jacked up its payout in each of the past 46 years.

Nike (NYSE:NKE) is also taking a "just do it" approach to higher disbursements. The athletic footwear giant's quarterly distributions are climbing 9% to $0.25 a share.

SkyWest (NASDAQ:SKYW) is another hiker. Yes, there is chunkier income to be had even in the rocky air carrier sector. The parent of SkyWest Airlines is asking shareholders to lock their trays as its quarterly payout ascends 33% to $0.04 a share. The resulting 1.4% yield isn't going to wow nonbelievers, but it's a welcome sign of confidence in an industry that could use a boost.

Finally, we have Roper Industries (NYSE:ROP) raising the stakes. The diversified manufacturer of engineered products for niche industries is giving its quarterly disbursements a 14% nudge to $0.0825 a share.

It may not sound like much, but consider the companies going the other way last week:

  • La-Z-Boy (NYSE:LZB) cut its dividend in half.
  • New York Times (NYSE:NYT) slashed its payout by a steep 74%.
  • Royal Caribbean (NYSE:RCL) is suspending its distributions entirely.

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.

La-Z-Boy and Lancaster Colony are Motley Fool Income Investor picks. Royal Caribbean is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendation. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days.

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.