A top portfolio manager at DoubleLine Capital LP said on Wednesday that now is the wrong time for the U.S. Federal Reserve to raise interest rates and that a hike in December could prompt a market "accident" that could force the central bank to backtrack.

Bonnie Baha, who helps invest $80 billion as head of global developed credit at DoubleLine, said the economy is in worse shape now than three years ago, when the Fed began its third round of quantitative easing, with little inflation, falling commodity prices and weak industrial production.

"I think there's a high probability of an accident" in the marketplace, Baha said at the Reuters Global Investment Outlook Summit in New York.

"It's like putting your foot on the brake when there's no gas in the car to begin with," she said. "It's hard to say this would be the start of a tightening cycle, but I think the probability is not zero that (the Fed) would have to retract at some point."

Founded six years ago by Jeffrey Gundlach, DoubleLine has quickly become one of the most influential fixed-income managers. Its flagship Total Return Bond Fund has outgained at least 97 percent of its peers over one, three and five years, according to Morningstar Inc.

Baha's outlook is cool for 2016. She expects it to offer "more of the same but worse" than 2015 for corporate bond investors.

She said companies are borrowing too much, not to expand their businesses but to fund buybacks and pay shareholder dividends. The default rate among junk-rated companies may rise above the 4 percent rate typical over the long run, Baha added.

Metals, mining and energy may cause much of the pain, sooner rather than later, with high oil inventories and Saudi Arabia resisting meaningful production cuts, she said.

"Right now, to step into this, you'd be catching a falling knife," Baha said on investing in energy debt. "With oil at $40 a barrel, these people can't make it ... At some point there are going to be some bargains out there, but we're not stepping into that now."

A good alternative for investors interested in corporate credit is closed-end bond funds, some of which trade at "incredible discounts," she said.