A while back I produced a few posts related to copulas. In A Basic Intro to Copulas I played around with some examples using SAS. This gave me some idea about how you could fit copulas based on parameters estimated from real data. And then I did some exploratory work using the copula package in R. In Copulas Functions, R and the Financial Crisis I mentioned some properties of copulas and how they were used in some of the risk modeling related to mortgage backed securities that went bad during the financial crisis. I used R to make some copula based plots....but it just did not click with me how I could use the copula functions in R to do anything concrete.
However, recently I ran across a post Modelling Dependence with Copulas in R, in which the author walks through a number of motivating examples giving some really powerful intuition about how copulas work, as well as a concrete application using stock data.
In this post (or really just the R code below) I modified the code somewhat to pull the data from yahoo finance using the quantmod package in R. Then I just pulled out the key segments of code that estimated the copulas, and concretely used parameters derived from the actual stock data to simulate returns for two stocks, Yahoo and Cree, Inc. Except I used Monsanto and ADM.
One thing discussed in the post that I found very interesting was related to the VineCopula application. This was used to help decide which copula specification might make the most sense for a given data structure.
"In the first example above I chose a normal copula model without much thinking, however, when applying these models to real data one should carefully think at what could suit the data better. For instance, many copulas are better suited for modelling asymetrical correlation other emphasize tail correlation a lot, and so on. My guess for stock returns is that a t-copula should be fine, however a guess is certainly not enough. Fortunately, the VineCopula package offers a great function which tells us what copula we should use. Essentially the VineCopula library allows us to perform copula selection using BIC and AIC through the function BiCopSelect()"
Below is the last plot from my code, of simulated returns vs actual daily returns for Monsanto and ADM for the last 3 years. I'll have to echo the above, I didn't use the VineCopula package to select a copula, but my intent here was just to look at some example code and a practical application of copulas using R with real data.
I won't share the previous plots etc. but refer you to the original post where they walk through the code almost line by line and demonstrate really well how this works. My code is below, but they have their entire program for their orignal post at github.