(Refiles to fix typo in headline)
* Nikkei flat for the week, up 1.5 percent for the month
* Shippers, drugmakers scheduled to release earnings during market hours
* Fujifilm soars on share buyback plan
By Ayai Tomisawa
TOKYO, July 31 (Reuters) - Japan’s Nikkei share average was little changed on Friday as investors awaited more earnings from blue-chip companies and looked for signs of whether China’s volatile stock markets were starting to take a toll on its economy.
The Nikkei share average was flat at 20,526.84 points by mid-morning after traversing positive and negative territory. For the week, the index has been flat while it looks set for a gain of 1.5 percent for the month.
On Friday, shippers such as Mitsui O.S.K. Lines and Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha are slated to report their April-June results during the market hours, along with drugmakers like Astellas Pharma Inc and Eisai Co .
The likes of Sharp Corp and Honda Motor Co will report results after the market close.
“It’s the second biggest peak of the quarterly earnings season. Investors want to see the outcomes before they take positions,” said Hikaru Sato, senior technical analyst at Daiwa Securities.
He said that with Chinese shares remaining volatile, investors are awaiting its official manufacturing and services sector activity readings on Saturday for clues on China’s economic health and the likely impact on Japanese exporters.
“Beijing tends to announce measures to counter a market fall on the weekend, so that’s something the market is careful about, too,” he said.
The impact of China’s slowdown on Japan Inc so far has been mixed, with consumer goods firms showing more resilience than construction equipment makers and steelmakers.
Outperforming the market was Fujifilm Holdings, which jumped 6 percent after saying it will buy back up to 6.4 percent of its shares outstanding, worth 100 billion yen.
JFE Holdings dropped 3.2 percent after it cut its pretax profit forecast to 200 billion yen from previously forecast 230 billion yen for the year through March.
Exporters were steady, with Toyota Motor Corp rising 0.9 percent and Nissan Motor Co climbing 0.6 percent.
The broader Topix rose 0.5 percent to 1,655.60 and the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 gained 0.5 percent to 14,926.40.