Volatility made news this year, but with markets ending on relatively the same note as in January, it may not have been the biggest story of 2011. - 

Adriene Hill: Part of the fun of the new year is looking backward to the economic year that was, and to indulge in a just a little crystal ball gazing to the year ahead.

Joining me now is Fortune magazine's Allan Sloan.

Allan Sloan: Good morning, Adriene.

Hill: So markets today are almost exactly where they were at the beginning of the year. Did all the volatility and up and down actually mean anything?

Sloan: Well, the question is: If you get on a rollercoaster, it goes up and down and swings around, and you get off at pretty much the same place you got on -- has it meant anything? The answer is: You had a lot of fun, and your stomach lurched.

Hill: A lot of adrenaline.

Sloan: Well, that is what we do here, isn't it?

Hill: So what is the business story of the year that maybe we didn't talk about as much as we should have?

Sloan: Now, I think the business story of the year is, I think things may actually be getting better. But one of the reasons we didn't talk about it is that I can't prove that. It's a feeling I have because it's been now, depending on when you start the count, five or six years since things started falling apart, and it's time for them to get better. And I think they probably are.

Hill: Well, that's a story to look forward to in 2012. But tell me that next year we won't have to keep talking about Greek debt over and over and over.

Sloan: I'll tell you that, but I don't mean it. I suspect I'm going to learn how to pronounce drachma correctly -- that being the Greek currency -- because something is going to happen. Now, if I knew what it was, I would A) be rich and B) more than happy to tell our listeners. But I don't know. But it's going to still be a story in 2012.

Hill: All right, we'll look ahead to 2012. Fortune Magazine's Allan Sloan, thanks so much.

Sloan: You're welcome.

Follow Adriene Hill at @adrienehill