One of the better performing shares on the market today has been gold producer Saracen Mineral Holdings Limited (ASX: SAR). Its share price has risen over 4% to $1.15 today.

As well as receiving a boost from a lift in the gold price to US$1,187 an ounce overnight, Saracen Mineral’s also announced record quarterly gold production.

According to the release its production in the first half of FY 2017 hit a record 127,692 ounces. Management believes that the current level of production means the company is on course to achieve its 12-month goal of 300,000 ounces by the June quarter of 2017.

This will be a huge increase from last year’s record production of 188,656 ounces and should lead to bumper profit growth should the gold price hold steady.

Last year Saracen managed to reduce its all-in sustaining costs by 4% to A$1,095 an ounce. A further drop is expected this year, with management ultimately targeting an all-in sustaining cost of A$950 an ounce by FY 2020.

But whether or not the gold price holds steady is up for debate, with opinion largely divided on its future direction.

A number of European elections over the next 12 months have the potential to shake financial markets and cause investors to head for safe havens like gold. This could drive the price higher, much to the delight of Saracen and other miners such as Newcrest Mining Limited (ASX: NCM)Resolute Mining Limited (ASX: RSG), and Northern Star Resources Ltd (ASX: NST).

Conversely, others believe that rising interest rates in the United States will see traders jump out of gold, driving the precious metal’s price even lower.

I expect the latter of the two to be the more likely eventuality over the next 12 months if Donald Trump follows through on his infrastructure plans. I believe these plans will stimulate inflation and result in three to four rate increases by the Federal Reserve in 2017.

Because of this I would avoid an investment in Saracen or any of the other miners at this point. But if you feel the gold price will at least hold firm, then Saracen could be worth a second look.

Instead of an investment in the gold miners, I would suggest investors buy these three hot stocks which I'm tipping to smash the market in 2017. Each has enormous potential and can be bought at a fair price currently.

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Motley Fool contributor James Mickleboro has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.