Gold futures popped Friday to nearly $1,600, tracking wider gains in other asset classes, but underperforming silver and the broad equity market.

Gold has been trading in a somewhat-narrow band between $1,500 and $1,600 recently, but instruments based on the commodity have consistently hit a ceiling at $1,600, in spite of bullish fundamentals.

Frustration over gold's performance is clearly growing, and this was evident in yesterday's weaker sentiment towards the yellow metal. Taking a step back from near-term price action, the market is actually continuing to consolidate in the area between $1550 and $1650, with the trading range seemingly getting narrower within that space as we delve deeper into the Northern Hemisphere summer months, Edel Tully, a precious metals strategist at UBS, wrote Friday in a client note.

But gold's inability to convincingly break and hold above near-term resistance at $1,600 combined with the disappointing FOMC minutes this week has now brought the market even closer to the lower end of the $100 trading range.

Elsewhere, James Steel, an analyst with HSBC Securities, noted the market continued to mull over the recent FOMC minutes and was hurt by a weakening euro. Relatively higher cost of dollars normally drive commodity prices down.

Contracts on gold futures for August delivery, the most popular contract on the Comex trading platform, were trading at $1,590.7 per ounce, up 1.62 percent from the previous day's close.  but lagged the gains in other precious metals.

Particularly striking has been gold's disparity to silver futures, which are up over 3.4 percent from Thursday's lows on news of increased demand by exchange-traded funds. 

Other asset classes also left gold investors looking on and wondering. The benchmark S&P 500 index of U.S. equities, for example, was up 1.38 percent in late-morning trading, in spite of a dearth of market-moving positive news.