Merck & Co (MRK) is one of our Top 100 Dividend Stocks due to its impressive long-term commitment to paying dividends to shareholders, low beta, strong financial rating, and an elevated 3% yield. The company is one of the top U.S. drug firms and has paid dividends consecutively for 45 years. Over the weekend, the company announced exceptional news at the European Society for Medical Oncology conference for their dividend stock holders. New clinical data released demonstrated that their key drug Keytruda offered large benefits to previously untreated lung cancer patients. Keytruda allows the body to naturally fight cancer tumors. The prestigious New England Journal of Medicine, where the Merck monotherapy results were published, said Keytruda could become “a new standard of care”. Keytruda cut overall deaths by 40 percent compared to chemotherapy alone in pre-selected patients whose tumors had been tested using a bio-marker. When combined with older chemo drugs, it also increased the odds to shrinking tumors. Analysts expect this new data to drive Keytruda revenue up substantially over the next several years to nearly $10 billion by 2022. This will allow Merck to remain a leader in cancer care and ultimately reward shareholders. Merck raised its dividend to $1.84 annually last November. This was a 2.2% increase from the prior year dividend of $1.79. We expect Merck to initiate a larger dividend increase next month (than the 2.5% average over the past 5 years) based upon this new positive data.