Dividend checks continue to beef up 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.

Let's start with ITC Holdings (NYSE: ITC). The country's largest independent energy transmission company improved its quarterly dividend by 5% to $0.335 a share. It's not a lot, but ITC has now jacked up its yield in each of the past five years.

Cincinnati Financial (Nasdaq: CINF) is also paying up. The property casualty insurer is inching its quarterly distributions 1% higher to $0.40 a share. If ITC's five-year streak is impressive, you're going to be blown away in learning that Cincinnati Financial has now bumped its rate higher for 49 consecutive years. The shares are now yielding 5.9%, which is definitely on the high end among insurers.

Badge Meter (NYSE: BMI) -- the liquid flow measurement specialist that also happens to be a DRIP portfolio candidate -- is coming through with a chunky 17% boost. Shareholders will now be receiving $0.14 a share every three months. Investors must've seen this coming, since Badge Meter has done this 18 years in a row (though rarely with an increase this big).

Finally, we have Lorillard (NYSE: LO) kicking butts. The cigarette maker behind Kent, Newport, and several other cancer sticks isn't blowing smoke with its dividend. Its quarterly distributions are puffing 13% higher to $1.125. Investors have come to expect chunky quarterly checks from tobacco companies, with Altria (NYSE: MO), Philip Morris (NYSE: PM), and Reynolds American (NYSE: RAI) yielding 6.1%, 4.4%, and 6.3%, respectively.

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.

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