* Poland's Pekao rises after Q4 profit surge

* Weak dollar pushes South African rand, Israel's shekel up

* Hungary c.bank to discuss options for 75 bps, 100 bps cuts

* Turkey rate decision on tap

* Stocks up 0.9%, FX adds 0.1%

Feb 22 (Reuters) - A gauge of emerging market stocks touched near seven-month highs on Thursday, with Asian bourses leading the charge following stellar results from U.S. chipmaker Nvidia, while most currencies held their ground.

As of 0909 GMT, MSCI's index for emerging market stocks was up 0.9%, touching its highest level since Aug. 2.

AI-related and chip stocks were at the forefront of gains in China and South Korea, with both indexes rising 0.9% and 0.4%, respectively, after Nvidia forecast a roughly three-fold surge in quarterly revenue that handily beat estimates.

Stocks in Europe also had a bright start, with Turkey's main stock index gaining 0.7%, propped up by advancing industrial shares.

Poland's WIG 20 gained 1.5% after Pekao, the country's second-biggest lender, rose 2.7% on reporting a 95% jump in fourth-quarter profit.

Currencies, on the other hand, had a subdued opening, with the Czech crown holding steady at 25.306 against the euro.

The Turkish lira edged 0.1% lower to 31.034 per dollar ahead of a central bank rate decision later in the day, where it is widely expected to hold rates steady.

Options for a 75 basis point (bps) and 100 bps rate cut will both be on the table at the next meeting of Hungary's central bank on Feb. 27, Deputy Governor Barnabas Virag said in an interview on news website Index.hu.

Hungary's forint edged 0.1% lower to 386.9 per euro.

Amid broader dollar weakness, South Africa's rand gained 0.2% and Israel's shekel advanced 0.4%, respectively, while the broader EM index was up 0.1%.

Overnight, minutes from the Federal Reserve's last policy meeting showed the bulk of policymakers were concerned about the risks of cutting interest rates too soon, with broad uncertainty about how long borrowing costs should remain at their current level.

"EM currencies usually benefit during the Fed rate cut cycle," said Mali Chivakul, emerging markets economist at J. Safra Sarasin Sustainable Asset Management.

"But if we think about this cycle, the U.S. economy continues to be very strong and inflation might be a little bit more sticky, which means that this cycle will likely be more shallow than a lot of people had expected earlier."

Stocks in Johannesburg advanced 0.7%, while Saudi Arabia's main stock index gained 0.2%.

Minutes from the Mexican central bank's last policy meeting, due later in the day, will also be on investors' radar.

Romania's central bank will also publish minutes from its last meeting on Friday.


** South Korea holds rates steady, talks down early rate cut chance

** India's Feb business activity accelerated to seven-month high on solid demand


For TOP NEWS across emerging markets

For CENTRAL EUROPE market report, see

For TURKISH market report, see

For RUSSIAN market report, see

(Reporting by Shashwat Chauhan in Bengaluru; Editing by Sonia Cheema)