May 23 (Reuters) - European stocks edged higher on Thursday after strong forecasts from AI darling Nvidia lifted global chipmakers, while investors awaited the latest business surveys to gauge the euro zone economy's outlook and interest rate path.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index was up 0.2%, as of 0711 GMT, with the tech index gaining 1.2% to lead sectoral gains.

Shares of European semiconductor stocks including ASML , Infineon and ASM rose in the range of 1.5% to 2.4% after Nvidia forecast quarterly revenue above estimates, announced a stock split and raised its quarterly dividend by 150%, on a post-split basis.

Nvidia's shares rose 6.5% in Frankfurt trading.

Flash business surveys for the euro zone and the UK later in the day are expected to show a slight improvement in May.

Defensive sectors such as utilities and real estate were on the backfoot, with Britain's National Grid tumbling nearly 8% after it announced plans to raise about 7 billion pounds ($8.9 billion) through a fully underwritten rights issue.

UK's FTSE 100 was broadly flat after Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on Wednesday called a general election for July 4.

Shares of Embracer slid 7.2% after the Swedish games developer said its finance chief would step down for personal reasons, and also reported fourth-quarter operating profit in line with market expectations.

(Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)