Dividend checks continue to get fatter in corporate America, as more companies jack up their distribution rates.

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

We can start with Dell (Nasdaq: DELL).

Nil City was the PC maker's yield before announcing on Tuesday that it will initiate a quarterly payout rate of $0.08 a share. Dell has gone from being a market darling of the 1990s to disappointing investors as a market laggard in recent years. However, at least now shareholder patience will be rewarded.

Caterpillar (NYSE: CAT) also saw its dividend inch higher. The maker of construction and mining equipment bumped its quarterly distributions 13% higher to $0.52 a share. Shareholders shouldn't be surprised. Caterpillar has come through with meatier yields in 19 consecutive years.

Target (NYSE: TGT) is also aiming higher. The cheap chic department store chain is marking up its disbursements. Investors will now be receiving $0.36 a share every three months, and that's a 20% improvement. Discounters have actually been challenged to grow in this climate, yet Target follows market leader Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT), which jacked up its yield three months ago.

Finally, we have C.R. Bard (NYSE: BCR) going for a hike. The medical technology specialist is bumping its payouts 5% higher to $0.20 a share. The board also authorized a $500 million share repurchase plan.

Checks and balances
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.

If you want to track these stocks to see if and when they hike their payouts again, consider adding them to My Watchlist.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.