CHICAGO - Regulators from the Missouri secretary of state's office - joined by their colleagues from five other states - led a special inspection yesterday of Wachovia Corp.'s St. Louis-based securities division in an ongoing probe of its practices involving auction-rate securities following the $330 billion market's collapse.

About 10 inspectors from Missouri and other states that have formed a task force to probe auction-rate market practices participated in the inspection, during which regulators conducted interviews and reviewed various firm documents and records, according to Ryan Hobart, a spokesman for Secretary of State Robin Carnahan. Hobart said the inspection should not be considered a "raid" because the firm was notified a day earlier of the impending visit.

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